I believed love was a long, bright thread,
stitching skin to tender skin, pushing through
the calloused places, binding us in untold
ways. Love laced me into a fabric—a soft
garment or a quilt, comfortable and warm—
where I was integral, larger than a lone self.
I believed us so well-sewn we showed a seamless
face, a cloth woven whole. With wear came
tear, stains appeared, and durable material
thinned to gauze—then a rip, a rent, a hole,
entangled shreds. Love should not end
dull and frayed beyond all recognition
and repair, nor should it begin with design,
a knot, a needle, and a trail of bloody
puncture wounds. What connects one person
to another escapes me now. I believed I was
a long, bright thread. Smooth. Strong.
Enough to make love last.
When my mother called, I was eating
good spaghetti with a friend
at a humble restaurant. I silenced
the phone. I didn’t want bad news
to end my fickle appetite. At home,
I checked the message. My father was
still alive. I packed black: cashmere sweater,
dress pants, good shoes. Returned
my mother’s call. Made reservations
for the next night in Carlsbad. The next morning
he died. I went to work, met my students
for the first classes of the new semester,
then drove south as the moon rose, full
and huge, reminding me of nothing
so much as my father’s bald head
gleaming in the sun.
Marisa P. Clark is a queer writer with prose and poetry appearing or forthcoming in Cream City Review, Nimrod, Rust + Moth, Shenandoah, Texas Review, and elsewhere. A fiction reader for New England Review, she lives in New Mexico.