I saw your shadow pass in the high window near La Rue Moufftard. You, his first wife, the baby in your arms waiting, not knowing. I penned run! as the rain drizzled and turned cobblestones to fish scales. Sealed the envelope and slipped it under the door. You didn’t read it.
It isn’t then. It’s now. You already got out of there, eventually. Left him after he left you. More than once. Stopped leaving your baby in the care of the cat to follow him to café or salon or bar. The baby grew up, which takes decades. He wanted the short, straight line. Avoided the curve of comma, the complication of semi-colon. Though his dogma stretched fifty years past his lived life like a petulant poltergeist banging out periods on a typewriter. He claimed to love you. He claimed to love. A short sentence. He wrote about you, looking back through winter drizzle, through film of age, romanticized you, but did not see the bruise healing; green, purple, rust, in cobblestone. The soft wound beneath his feet.
He was good at the sharp, the blunt. Limited in his ability to appreciate the subtle, many colored circuity. Blind to the beauty of tangle. It’s why he left her, Paris, and his other women. Just part of his collection. Lovely severed heads to mount on his memory wall.
His only true love the fast thought. The shotgun sentence.
Twila Newey graduated from The Jack Kerouac Disembodied School of Poetics in 2003. She has completed her first novel and is currently querying agents. A portion of that manuscript won publication in Exponent II Midrash contest. Her poetry has also appeared on Poetry Breakfast and in Rust + Moth. She lives in the mountains west of Denver with her husband and four children.
From Issue 21: A Note to Hemingway's Women