Jaydn DeWald

Here and Not Elsewhere. Thus and Not Otherwise

To have become, us three, in the Viennese room, an ensemble—

Was that possible, was that me,

undressing in the olive-green light, for example,

While you stood in the kitchen, on pointe, listening to Norma,

Our aging priestess, in your golden leotard?            

I am embellishing again, investing

The past with so many niceties, so much romance, when time,

In fact, has left nothing

except rain on your skin, the evening you pirouetted in,

Naked under your black trench coat, singing our “Casta Diva”—

And there I go again: embellishing, embellishing. . . .

Your little calloused feet

In my ordinary hands—is that corrupted, is that me, kneading

The arches, the heels, the curled pink toes,   

while our ancient Victrola crackles

Under the paper lantern? To have opposed the cold, all winter,

With our reckless bodies, the sheets slipping under me,

our most desperate aria

Climaxing: a picture accurate enough, it seems to me, though

It is invented, therefore uninhabitable—

like a bedroom at the bottom of the sea. . . . 

Here are the three windows: square, uncurtained, one for each;

There is the wet street wandering toward the Stephansdom,

only to circle back

To the Viennese room: to you, in your square window, pliéing

To our opera, our soprano

walking with her lover, hand in hand, into the pyre—

Could I sense the flames, could I simply stand there, gripping 

My leather shoulder bag, crammed with records,

ready to leave, to never return?

The thought is laughable; no doubt a dramatic embellishment—

I stand behind you, rubbing a knot in your shoulder,

sneaking down the leotard

To better dig in my knuckles, until the inevitable end appears—

Me, unpinning your hair, on the needlepoint stool,

while the priestess calls to us

Across the room, oh, tremulous fluttering: and you turn to me. . . .

Jaydn DeWald

<em>Edit Poetry</em> Jaydn DeWald

Jaydn DeWald, an MFA candidate at Pacific University, currently lives with his wife in San Francisco, CA, where he writes, plays bass for the DeWald/Taylor Quintet, and serves as an Associate Poetry Editor for Silk Road. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Beloit Poetry Journal, Bellevue Literary Review, The National Poetry Review, New York Quarterly, Witness, and others.