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Friday, April 15, 2011

Flash of Genius--One Last Time, Joey Pizzolato

The Poem of the Week isn't just for poems, you might know by now, but you know, Flash of the Week just sounds...suggestive. So, we'll go with a little more enlightening a name. We have nothing to brighten up the traditional Tax Day, except for the realization that it's actually Monday this year. Instead we offer up some romance, or more accurately, the end of one. Hmm, that's a downer. (Have we ever published a love story that turned out well?) Maybe you should just quietly go back to crunching those numbers.

One Last Time

by Joey Pizzolato

She winds tinsel around her fingertips, tears it with her teeth. I watch from my bed, watch as she whisks it up into the air, watch it sparkle as it dissipates into the space between us. She’s trying to be festive, trying to lighten the mood. She doesn’t want to think about what we both already know.

Up here, tonight, she is my Rapunzel. Her hair is not quite as long, not quite as golden, but when I pull on it she lets out a little whimper that tells me she is still here, even though her eyes tell me she is somewhere else.

Nights like these we used to dance together in an ellipse, wild-eyed and waltzing until the room faded into the ether. Her hair always smelled of buttercream, her breath like the air before it rains.

I pat the empty space next to me. The bedspread—everything around me—is messed up. She hesitates, and when she finally moves she won’t look at me, stares at her feet instead. They are runner’s feet, calloused and raw. She does not pamper or paint them like her friends. She does not pretend to be something she’s not.

I want to say one of the many things sprinting around my head. I want to break this deafening, uncomfortable silence that hangs in the air. Everything is changing, but I want to pretend it’s not. I want to be able to return to this night in my dreams. It will be my rock to hold on to if everything goes bad. It will be so good that when I wake up, I’ll want nothing more than to turn over and go back to sleep.

I put my hand on her neck; let it fall down her back. I reach up under her shirt, unhook her bra. Lean over and kiss her cheek, nibble on her earlobe. She withdraws.

“It just doesn’t feel right,” she says. “You can understand that, can’t you? It’s like you’re already gone.”

I reassure her, tell her I’m right here. I show her by sucking her neck.

“Please,” I beg. “I need this.”

She peels off her shirt, lies back. My mouth wanders. Her breasts taste like lavender; her crotch is sweet like honeydew. When I put myself inside of her she growls, clenches her jaw. I try to kiss her, but she grabs my face.


Instead, I concentrate on her breathing, feel her hips move against mine—back and forth. I try to hold the moment, make it last as long as I can, but it's over in a minute.

When I pull out I put my head to her chest, listen to the thumpthumpthump of her heart. I roll over and rub my hand on her stomach. She lays stiff, keeps her hands under the pillow. After a while she gets up, dresses, and leaves.

We don’t say goodbye because we already did that.

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