You won’t melt if I stop
with the umbrella at my car
and let you go on.
Or maybe I should hand it over,
so you can walk off dry,
unscathed. But I provide cover
as you unlock your door and
turn to me. We reach for each
other, the umbrella hovering
over our quick embrace. We let
go and lament, “Wish you
were closer,” almost together.
At my car, I linger with the trunk open,
feigning busy, and wait for you to drive past.
I imagine the road collapses behind you,
rebuilt by glass fibers that can bear
only the weight of words.
I should have held you longer and
paid attention to the feeling of your arms
holding me strong, no words
or rain or kiss or tears, not doomed
to win or lose at love or lust.
I concede that something is better
than nothing. The clouds part just above
the clock tower, making room for
a divine hand or bolt of lightning
to reach down and soothe me.
James Powers-Black’s publication credits include Jonathan, Theodate, and Anon. He is working on his first novel, a re-imagining of Penelope’s story from The Odyssey that focuses on the partner left behind by a closeted, gay soldier stationed in Iraq. Originally from Kansas City, Missouri, he now lives in central Pennsylvania with his husband and dogs.