An Apology which is not an Apology but a Love Letter

by Eira Murphy

Tonight, I’m dreaming of the crucifix.
Jazz plays in the background and trumpets weep. Someone
the swan is drowning over the sound of someone crying.
I remember singing myself awake in my cot,
boys on bicycles strumming guitars
outside my window. I was a deaf Juliet, making words
to you and three others. I said the guinea pigs
looked bigger from here. I tried to tell you
the ghost was friendly, but you insisted,
skipped ahead though that face I’d never seen
swept my dreams. I am thinking of something else now,
flooded monasteries. The measuring stick my brother bought,
the pink straw hat I thought could float,
the sofa too near the fire. The sonic buzz
to drive away mice I could hear above my own heartbeat,
a seaweed bath, dropped trays of scones.
The shudder of bells, seeds that smell of sugar.
The white house on the bend looks like a woman praying,
or strung up or both. I cross the canal,
watch the water drip back in. They told me stars only shine
because they’re dying, powering their own goodbyes. Dark
covers us. We discover light together. Blushes crumpled in tissues,
left on buses, rolled up in cuff sleeves. I glue them to my wall.
I forgive myself for what I am and for what I was not. Guillotine
of water. Women, high in the blue light of the Co-op,
walk straight across zigzags. And if I could smoke them, blow
into grey spirals, I would, but the matches are sewn
to your ankle, love. And though I nearly fainted,
I wrote the alphabet out with my toes.
I remember a postcard I meant to send that showed proper art,
something you could understand, the silent plea
from a dying bird my brother won’t forgive himself for.