Still dawn. She perches, angled in the chair–
Chin sharp in sleep, joints stark through soft-worn clothes,
Her eyelids tense, ridged even in repose,
One brittle wrist protruding through her hair.
My shadow bars her. I would block that care
That crumples, wrests her limbs in broken pose:
Her body, hated, dies. Her longing grows,
Till soul drifts out through eyes thinned with despair.
I’ve guarded her a week. She doesn’t move.
My shadow’s stiff with watching. She first came
For breath; now breathing lengthens, rasps, in sleep.
What secret touch from me might wake her, prove
There’s substance still in wanting, that her name
Is life’s pure thread, spun by her soul to keep?
*Previously published in Kaleidoscope, 1998-99.
Contributor Notes: Adele Gardner’s first poetry collection, Dreaming of Days in Astophel, is available from Sam’s Dot Publishing (http://sdpbookstore.com/poetrybooks.htm, keyword search “Gardner” or “Astophel” to go right to it). She has had poems appear in American Arts Quarterly, The Cape Rock, Bibliophilos, The City Primeval, Bellowing Ark, Z Miscellaneous, Status Hat, and more. Much of this occurred under her previous byline, Lyn C. A. Gardner. You can find out more about Adele by visiting her website, www.gardnercastle.com.