Poem by Katharina Love


 

Artemis and Me

He slipped into the booth
adjacent to mine
this morning
at the coffee shop
down the street from
my mother’s apartment.

He told me his name was Hugh.
When I asked if Louie and Dewey
were coming to join him,
he did not appear to be amused.
Perhaps he was averse to ducks –
or me.

Hugh was lit from the inside
he seemed both
birthday candles
and birthday cake.

My heartbeat.
The hunger.
I want it.
I want it.

Hugh was wearing a large
beaded tiger’s eye bracelet
on his left wrist
that immediately grabbed
my attention.

I had to have one
just like his,
even though
I had long ago
given up jewelry,
even though
I had long ago
given up men.

My heartbeat.
The hunger.
I want it.
I want it.

I lusted after his bracelet
knowing if I owned one
just like Hugh’s,
his super powers
would flow from his
bracelet to mine.

Hugh told me about Jasmine
who sold her jewelry
from her home
across from his yoga studio.

Of course
he practiced yoga,
I’m sure he brought
his own mat
made out of
organically grown hemp.

After some gentle prodding,
Hugh gave me Jasmine’s number.
I could feel myself inching closer
to the magic.

My heartbeat.
The hunger.
I want it.
I want it.

I sent Jasmine a text and
she replied instantly.
“Come over right away!
I live in St Henri.”
Which meant nothing to me
since I am directionally challenged
on the best of days.

“Is that far?” I asked
“I don’t have a car and I will be
walking with my dog.”
“It’s not far at all” said Jasmine
“Just walk down Greene Street,
then turn left onto St. Jacques.
It should take you less
than twenty minutes.”

So off we go
my puppy Lucille and me,
intrepid journeywoman
and her trusted canine companion.

Except that it doesn’t take us
twenty minutes
or thirty minutes
or even forty,
but I tell
myself I don’t care
because it’s all downhill,
because it’s a sunny day,

because Lucille is happy,
because the eye of the tiger
is calling me home.

I reach my destination
and knock boldly on her
crimson coloured door.
A full bodied woman
wearing a vintage Japanese kimono
greets us and says
“Welcome, I’m Jasmine!”

My heartbeat.
The hunger.
I want it.
I want it.

“I have been walking on my knees
for a hundred miles through
the desert repenting.” I said
“Well then you must be thirsty”
said she.

She offered Lucille and me
water from her well.
I had never tasted water
so pure and so sweet.

Jasmine brought out
her baubles for me
to admire.
She had bracelets
made of amethysts and garnet,
lapis and hematite.
She had bracelets made of
silver and gold,
copper and pewter,
but no tiger’s eye in sight.

I asked Jasmine if she could make me
the same bracelet that she made
for Hugh.
“I’m so sorry.” said Jasmine
“Hugh is divine incarnate. I made
that bracelet just for him”

And just like that,
with one little snap,
I was banished from the island
where hope and hearth and family
reside and I most definitely,
now never will.

My heartbeat.
The hunger.
I want it.
I want it.

I couldn’t help myself,
my eyes immediately filled with
tears.
Jasmine offered up a consolation
prize, a bracelet made of hawk’s eye.

Hawk’s eye? I was not a graceful loser,
always mortified to come in second.
Most often when the going got tough,
I left the race, easier to escape
than deal with the shame of defeat.

So there I was
my tears staining
her cherry wood
table, as Jasmine gently
took my hand and placed
the bracelet on my wrist.

“Look Katharine, I think
hawk’s eye suits
your skin tone even better.”
“Tiger’s eye is the sun, but
hawk’s eye is the moon, and didn’t
you just tell me that your
favourite colour was grey?”

I did and it is and I keep a portrait
of Artemis, Goddess
of the Hunt and the Moon
on my night table beside my bed.

I know my hunger-
my wanting, will never
be sated by
donuts and Dim Sum
baubles and bling
winning medals of honour
nor donning angel wings.

I get that,
I truly do.
But the wanting,
my wanting,
is the closest I’ve gotten to
feeling tethered to something
tangible.

So for a moment,
for that one brief wanting moment,
I can stop feeling that
I’m here, dangling
all alone on
the edge of the earth.

My heartbeat.
The hunger.
I want it,
I want it.

 

Katharine Love is a retired psychotherapist turned writer. Her blog The Lesbian Chronicles is published in HuffPost. Katharine lives in Toronto with her circus puppy Lucille.

Luis Lázaro Tijerina was born in Salina, Kansas. Mr. Tijerina has a Master of Art degree in history, concentration being military history and diplomacy. He is a published author of military theory, short stories, essays and poetry. Mr. Tijerina resides in Vermont.

 

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