by M. Thomas Goecke
I have shaken with love half the night.
She is but half my age.
Whither, whither am I going?
The other day on talk radio, a woman revealed that her husband had filled her carís gas tank before she even got up for work. That was love, she said, even if he couldnít say it in words. I hope someday I can tell you about the love I have for you, how it torments me, pawing at my ribs, how it falls on me unpredictably, making me queasy, dizzy. Your mother knew. She smelled it the way visitors to the zoo pick out the smell of the lion house, making their hearts gallop before even seeing the cats, but she misunderstood, told me to stay away from her fifteen-year-old daughter. A grown man, she said, I should be ashamed.
But, I didnít want to touch inside you like your father has since you were eight. I saw in you a hollowness like my own, like the decayed middle of a lightening-struck tree. I never told you about the hardest stone, one engraved with Beth Ann, Infant daughter ofÖ
My son talks of seeing you in the hallway at school. One afternoon he described your disheveled, dirty clothes and uncombed hair, told of you giving away the contents of your locker and purse.