Words (Story by Risa Peris)

You never cared for words, did you? I knew it. The moment I saw you. You zinged me. Like a shock to my poor, poor soul mired in moods, death, and poems. I loved you nearly immediately. You looked familiar. I thought that’s what love was – like remembering a lovely dream. What trash. But I coaxed you into my bed. I read Stevie Smith to you and you fell asleep. Why did I bother with you? Oh, but I loved your kisses. The smell of your skin. The chest I could rest my head-on. I would hug you and think…I have arrived. A ship pulling into port. But you never cared for words. I read you ee cummings. Not even the rain has such small hands. That can open and close me. You threw the book across the room. Enough. Why you? You’re a man. I’m a woman. We’ve been apart for two decades. And still, I remember you. The totality of your body locking into mine. I called you once. You were married. Had a child. I had a fit of tears. I was so lonely. When I was thirty and still unpublished, I wrote and mailed you a suicide letter. Plath did herself in right after she wrote the best lyric poetry in America. I had nothing. Words clogged in my brain, stuck in my throat, choked that poor, poor soul. I wanted you to know. I loved you. When I lay dying of poison I swallowed, I will still love you. But you never cared for words and words were my heart. Thump, thump. How could you be in my heart if you never cared for words? I sit in my chair as I write this and stare at Baudelaire. Edna St. Vincent Millay. I know. You were a ghost. A ghost whispering literary failure. A ghost that came to me in my loneliness moments. Yes. I will move my words to my soul and you shall have my heart. But still…you threw words in the air. Literary death. When I die, I will love you but the words will crumple like late fall leaves.