In His Studio, Late
(Vermont Studio Center)
He fills my glass. I point to a canvas, say
“Tell me how you made this.” He is smoking
while he answers. The studio door is closed.
Outside, the party and inside, conversation.
He asks if I have ever been unfaithful to my husband.
No. His works are cool, careful grids.
But underneath, emotion. We talk about devotion,
meditation, children. Our marriages.
Perhaps it is the wine, but now I understand
that this was what I wanted. Not his body, necessarily,
though that would probably be nice. I wanted how he talks,
and holds his cigarette, and listens as I speak.
“Growing older,” I say, “you learn that you are not
the person who you thought you were.” He nods.
“Those things you swore you’d never do, you see now
how you could,” he says. “Yes,” I say. “You find, at last,
that you contain your opposite. That you are capable… ”
“Yes. We are all capable… “ he says, and does not look away
until I do. Long past midnight, the party ebbs beyond the door.
Capable and unwilling, and time to be going. I bundle into layers
while he finishes my wine. One prim smoky goodnight kiss
and cold Orion for chaperone while I walk home to bed.
But not to sleep. While the wine burns through me
earthborn Orion stalks across the blue to his lover, dawn,
and I as chaste as Artemis lie in a narrow bed
nobody’s lover, nobody’s wife, no breathing but my own.