Touché

Did the cold western winds blow me your name
a late winter’s chill across my silvered mane?
A memory that caresses the faintest fracture line
that once limped its orbit around my slender spine,
where footsore foreign soldiers hobbled
across the fronts of small squares cobbled.

Remember when you captured my heart
lured with words that later tore trust apart?
From trench mortars fired belief asunder
in the summer storms’ brief thunder
her name lay as a question on my lips
unspoken between us even as I thrust my hips
and ground out my love in that last goodbye
the unsmoked cigarette… the regret… the lie.

Were the veins in my voice your only song
where bloodied words came to belong
pieces in fields far from the clotted earth
the country, a hemisphere away from your birth?
Above these headstones my freed soul can soar
far from the memory of foot-soldiers gone before.
I was idealistic, an untouched country-girl,
and around your urban name my lips did curl.

Did you notice in our combined breath
how earth slowed down at the ‘little death’?
For in that moment of your sole escape
I found myself wide-eyed and hyper-awake,
keeping guard until shifting your weight away,
only to dismantle me, with cruelest cuts you say:
This time our touch will be the last –
from now on these moments are our past.

Underneath that familiar triumphal arch
between the tree-lined avenue they march
past lovers hover as I lay down my swords
my bright edged épée defense, my words.
Scattered at the feet of the unknown soldier
the breeze marching past just that much colder,
an empty street where lonely memories glow eternal
the ash of passion’s fire underneath the infernal.
I walk away knowing what we had is at an end
and whisper: Touché mon amour… my friend.

From ‘Slivers of Paris’ by Alexandra J Cornwell

Eiffel Tower at sunset from atop the Arc de Triomphe de l'Étoile

Eiffel Tower at sunset from atop the Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile

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