Ten Nights

Author | Patricia McCrystal

I.                    With the night there is a pull
or more of a push, like we say in therapy
though I don’t push you anymore
and you don’t sit down, your hands
cupped to your eyes like blinders
on a mad horse
with the night I take two
after dinner with water
the directions say add three breaths
I write on the label
& four unanswered calls
with the night in my head swimming
I think of the folds in the mountains
and the veinous starspread between them
both of which hide you
away from me
II.                 You didn’t have to tell the others
what I asked you that night on the bridge
above black water
I shouldn’t have said it.  The moon makes me crazy.
the garish morning light revealed
your mouth wound tight like a scar
you wore the face of my doctor
I told you both to forget
what I asked
Neither of you will
III.              I push because I know
there is always a spot in you that sighs and gives
like wet earth, like a purple wound
that puckers like railroad tracks
like a finger pressed
between two lips
IV.               I want to ask you something
I can’t ask the others, and here you are
sensitive to my anxious swelling
a pocket of snow
when I am a needle
forgive me,
as I am so often a needle
V.                My arms are wrapped in white moth wings
I am pale and delectable
I would swallow myself
if I could
In a way, I do
VI.              I think of that night like a song:
roiling, reddening, bursting, draining
you worked together to close me
I didn’t want the others there.
Sometimes you are the needle.
VII.            Howling is just the way we sing to the moon
Poetic, you said, but you were changing the locks
and I needed help
I proved you right night after night
I’m sorry that I did
VIII.        I write a poem
about the dark waters that surge and swell
beneath skin, spiking toward the moon
her gossamer fingers stretching
to loop around my wrists
I cut her away
IX.              You always loved me better blue
than red. That never stopped me.
X.                 I drove to your house one night but you weren’t home.
I left a bottle of wine on the wood pile and got on the roof. It was very cold.
I rolled a smoke and laid there for hours.
The moon was enormous. She didn’t notice me.
I remembered a good poem by Robert Frost.
I howled.

About the Author | Patricia (Patty) McCrystal likes telling ghost stories almost as much as she likes hearing them. Her poems are often about fire, blood, echoes, and spirits. Patty has been published in Fellow Magazine, Gesture Literary Journal, The “A” Literary Journal, and Garden Level Literary Journal. She received her degree in Creative Writing from Colorado State University and went on to receive a Certificate in Publishing from the University of Denver Publishing Institute. She is an avid reader of comic books and avid reciter of Emily Dickinson.