Elemental

Elemental

If you stand in the dirt in front of the house
where I grew up, lean your body inward
over the Arbor Vitae, steady yourself against
the fieldstone sill, and peer through the picture
window, the first thing you’ll notice are the colors.
The green of the shag carpet thick as indoor sod,
the worm-brown cushions on the sectional sofa
curving in toward a pair of orange arm chairs.
Then if you look closer, you’ll see a white lamp,
the bulb still warm. And beneath it, a red pack
of Pall-Malls next to a blue, boat-shaped ashtray,
one lipstick-smudged cigarette leaning starboard,
its ember still burning, fog curling up and over
the bow. And beside the boat, a lighter, black
enamel glistening in the bay, a woman’s name
etched in a chrome square. If you are truly
perceptive, you’ll notice footprints in the lush
carpeting just beginning to lose their shape,
and your eye will follow them to the staircase
and up to where they end at the closed bedroom
door. Love is like that, the desire to engrave
the name of the beloved onto ordinary objects,
the unfinished cigarette always smoldering just
below the surface of everyday routine, and the
elemental need to ascend together into the dark.

Paul Scot August

Published in Scribble Magazine Vol 8-1

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