fall/winter, '06-07 , no. 8







You ask me to undream you now
that things have taken a turn, your wife’s hand
willing us back to the wish state,
un-truing us.


So I’ll play along, imagine reversing
the course of events, a remote control
in her green hand rewinding the past three months
making love backwards
in fast motion on the TV screen:


See my bright naked body
against yours in the darkened bedroom?
A tornado of black velvet wells above my head
and slips over me so I am clothed again,
then naked,

your sex in mine, stabbing –
the clothes come and go,
the stabbing starts and stops, your cock
unsure of my little deaths.


My full breasts fall from the black bra
to your kissing before the straps 
tuck them up again into my dress,
glowing then darkening,
a strobe light beneath your hands
that clothe and unclothe me, make me
appear and disappear on the screen.


While our bodies struggle to be seen,
our kisses are violent and quick –
birds pecking, getting caught,
pecking again and flying away.


With each kiss in the cold house
we swallow clouds of breath
that hover warmly around our faces,
traces of spirit
entering each other’s bodies
through our frosty lips,
little speech bubbles we’d rather lick away
than fill with words.


In between making love
we lay tangled in each other, staring,
holding each other gently as the tape rewinds
our thoughts and our bodies.
Despite this, it seems the rewinding has stopped,
our hearts and breathing
and whispers so faint
we look dead in the dark room, paused.


Soon we stir, uncuddle each other
reluctantly from bed to hallway,
falling backward into the bathtub
as candles ignite spontaneously
when you bend your face to them.


Now you’re reading me a book in the water –
your lips are moving so fast,
they’re vibrating, and my nipples harden
in the breeze of quickly-turned pages.


Despite the cold,
we run nearly naked from room to room,
moving so quickly
we’re keeping the walls warm,
a skin-blur winding through the corridors
of your house, its winter circulation.


Finally, near the end of the rewinding,
I am walking backwards
out your door for the last time.
Before I exit, our eyes close and lips suckle
onto each other endlessly –
on TV we are seemingly narcoleptic,
falling asleep face to face
exhausted with kissing.


If your wife stopped rewinding now
and pressed play we’d see that I’m
actually entering your house
for the first time – we’d see you bending
toward the flame of my bright hair, your body
curving into mine, relaxing as if melted,
giving the first of many embraces.


The tape is making that screeching noise
like it does when it’s almost come to the end,
or in this case the beginning,
and there I am in my own kitchen
making dinner for my husband
who was just about to give us his blessings.


Though I’ve never seen your house
at this point,
the map you drew hangs on our refrigerator
next to the photo of you and me and my husband,
arm in arm in arm, celebrating
the serendipity of friendship.


I’m running my fingers over the map, curious,
already imagining myself at your doorstep.
If she hits stop here the whole thing will happen
all over again,
so she must continue back to a point
before the map, before we met
on the military base in this delapidated Japanese
farming town.


I keep going back to a quote by Rumi
like I kept going back to your house that winter –


Lovers do not find each other,
They are in each other all along.


If that’s so,
she must rewind until my life is unmade,
watch my body fly like a ghost
on the screen far back to its very germ of life,
snuffing my youngest self
in avoidance of you.


    ........................................... Jalina Mhyana


Jalina Mhyana, a two-time Pushcart nominee, placed third in Pudding House Collection’s 2007 Chapbook Contest judged by Jennifer Bosveld and placed third in Perigee’s 2004 Poetry Contest judged by Judy Jordan. Mhyana’s first chapbook Spikeseed was published by Bad Moon Books in 2004, and her second chapbook The Wishing Bones will be published by Pudding House Collections in 2007. Mhyana has been a Featured Poet in From East to West: Bicoastal Verse and was recently Poet of the Week on Poetry Super Highway. She has published interviews with poets Li-Young Lee, Denise Duhamel, Kim Addonizio, Laurie Kuntz, and others. Her poetry has appeared in Room of Ones Own, InkPot, Half Drunk Muse, Slipstream, Margin, and many others. Jalina has been an expatriate for almost a decade, spending six years in a rural fishing village in northern Japan. Mhyana currently lives in Germany, where she works as a massage therapist. She is an MFA candidate in the creative writing program at Bennington College.


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