by Avril Bries
It was on my way to Chemistry, before
my mind was lost in violet sediments and amino acids.
“It’s over!” he said, his voice carrying
in the near-empty building, one day during summer school.
And she replied, “Thank God,
because I never loved you anyway.”
I remembered seeing them, cooing, kissing
all teeth and hunger, savage romantics
melding together, flesh and bones in clothed copulation
expressed only in hands and arms, in twining arms—a language of limbs,
The language of love: now silent under the screaming
that sunlit morning. Maybe there were other mouths, other
names their bodies were learning to speak. Maybe love
was a home they’d left with no breadcrumb trail
to lead them back. Who knows? There now the sound
of heels clicking across the floor, his fist
slamming into the wall as she walked away.
how their story would end. Would they turn,
frantic with regret, embrace? Or then, allow themselves to melt
into the faceless crowds of jaded campus babies,
and continue down University Road passing the other,
without seeing? Without feeling? Yet I was certain
that somehow they eventually would meet,
for UP is too small for lovers to be swallowed
into loss, in spite of this city-like expanse
of greenery and monoliths.
I had always equated love with anger. Violence
took passion, and meant that they still believed
in each other, still cared enough for it to matter.
They were only children,
innocent of how love burned, then turned
into ennui. Their bodies still sought
their destinies in touch, while mine had frozen, its fate
only to lie (both it, and to myself)
sleepless in bed that night. I would not fall,
only chart the affections of other couplings.
I suspected tomorrow I would encounter
those two again, holding hands as though nothing
had taken place, though thinking
that it was not, would not be,
the same; yet they would move on,
love crippled, perhaps, but still reaching for all
the precious memories, the beautiful
incandescence of human affection.