—after the painting “Veiled Mystery Woman” by Daniel Content
I waited for her in the darkened room.
One small lamp illuminated the white cat
who lay taking in the scene.
It was difficult to discern her quiet knocking
from the steady rain on the flat tar roof.
My nerves flashed and kindled.
I poured a glass of vodka and drank it quickly,
the faint buzz surging through me immediately.
The knocking continued, quietly, sets of three,
so unobtrusive one might think
the caller did not want to be heard.
The rain on the roof was one continuous sound.
I quickly drank another glass of vodka.
I could feel you tearing through
the thick wall of my imagination
as the wind began to wail nearly silently
it was so far off.
I gathered what nerve I had left
as the wind drew closer.
I opened the door,
and behind her, illumined
by the meagre lights of the crumbling parking lot,
was the silver-black scrim of rain
which fell like a single thing
and I stepped aside to let her in.
Guilt tore open my conscience
and I immediately turned from her,
her expression locked somewhere
between sorrow and suspicion,
as your image, unmistakable,
rose to the ceiling,
your eyes closed in lust or sorrow,
and for a moment she and I stood motionless
waiting for the encroaching wind
to give us our next command.