Chrys Tobey: Distance



Dante only saw Beatrice in passing a few times.

I imagine it was like trying to catch

a feather floating down from the sky.

You always want more my mother would say.

For birthdays she would buy me a dress,

though that wasn’t enough – I wanted tights.

I can’t lie, it’s still true –

maybe satisfaction is only for the dead.

Wanting you is like wanting the tights.

My mother would say no and I’d pout,

not because I really wanted the tights –

it’s the achievement in acquiring what one can’t have.

Wanting you is a morning glory that blooms

from cracked cement – always a possibility.

The fourteen year old girl within me fights,

she won’t sit still, so I slap her pink cheeks,

tell her to behave, to go pop gum and write

in her diaries I shredded long ago.

The ones that gushed about the green eyed

boy-next-door, wanting him the way one

wants to brush their finger against a star.

Would Dante have composed page after page

if he had his beloved Beatrice at his side?

Perhaps I would not have been satisfied

with the boy-next-door or now even with you.

After all, when I finally did get the tights

there was always a shiny pair of shoes.


Distance was published in Driftwood.