A sonnet for the last day of the next-to-last month

Does Absence aching hearts then fonder make,
which in their pain no fonder-making need?
How callous slith'ring Absence as a snake
disguised, or spider-like her web does seed
with bait- a tender gaze or touch of hand-
then springs her trap. She rips the pair apart
whose fate she as a game does play. They land
divided, seas apart- heart torn from heart.
One wanders, wails in pain new-found. Her love
lies quiet, stunned, unsure- then finds the strength
to wait, and to his love his love to prove.
If Absence in her plot succeed, what length
must travel love, her home to find?
O, Absence wins her game unkind.


He told me one day about their first kiss. They had been walking along the water and the sun had been winking every few minutes from behind the swiftly passing clouds. Suddenly, a cloud paused, then decided to stay put. Wind, a sheer drop in temperature, rain. They ran to the shelter of a very large, very leafy willow tree and stood very close together on the bridge that ran underneath the wind-whipped branches. She cuddled against him and after an anxious pause, he turned her face toward his and kissed her, softly.

That was almost six years ago.

We went out once for falafel and sat on the rickety bench outside the cafe. While we ate and talked and laughed, the sky clouded over and it started to rain. The lip of the roof covered our heads and we were protected until the hail came. Then it bounced off of passing cars, off of the table in front of us, off of us. We ran inside to finish eating and the proprieter of the cafe gave us free tea for our trouble.

A few weeks later, we were walking along the water and came to that familiar tree. "One year ago, today," he said. One year ago, what? I wondered. Then we went to sit on the dock. While we ate our ice cream and talked and laughed, the sky clouded over and threatened rain, but held off while he told me about their last kiss. They had been out dancing and she had driven him home. They talked quietly for a few minutes, holding hands, and watching the sky. He kissed her and started to leave, but she held on to his hand as the first drops spattered the windshield. "We have to talk," she had said, her voice very soft and still. The rain fell harder and streaked down the windows as she calmly explained why she would never kiss him again, never see him again. He slammed the door behind him as he walked the last blocks through the rain.

That was one year ago.

We had just finished dinner. It had been raining since we sat down at the table. As we finished and washed the dishes, it stopped and the purple of a late sunset stained the receding clouds. When it was dark, we went to stand on the balcony and watch the sky. "What star is that?" he asked.

"Venus, I think."

"And there's der grosse Wagen. What do you call it?"

"Big Dipper. Or the Drinking Gourd. There's a song about it... Follow the Drinking Gourd. The slaves sang it on their way north. Follow the north star." Follow the sky? I thought to myself, pausing. "Random thought, sorry."

"I thought it fit very well, just now," he said.

We stood in silence, watching the sky. We stood very close together, but I did not cuddle against him. He did not kiss me.