As You Leave Me

Shiny record albums scattered over
the living room floor, reflecting light
from the lamp, sharp reflections that hurt
my eyes as I watch you, squatting among the platters,
the beer foam making mustaches on your lips.

And, too,
the shadows on your cheeks from your long lashes
fascinate me--almost as much as the dimples
in your cheeks, your arms and your legs.

You
hum along with Mathis--how you love Mathis!
with his burnished hair and quicksilver voice that dances
among the stars and whirls through canyons
like windblown snow, sometimes I think that Mathis
could take you from me if you could be complete
without me. I glance at my watch. It is now time.

You rise,
silently, and to the bedroom and the paint;
on the lips red, on the eyes black,
and I lean in the doorway and smoke, and see you
grow old before my eyes, and smoke, why do you
chatter while you dress? and smile when you grab
your large leather purse? don't you know that when you leave me
I walk to the window and watch you? and light
a reefer as I watch you? and I die as I watch you
disappear in the dark streets
to whistle and smile at the johns


Submitted by Hen

by Etheridge Knight

Comments (8)

'quicksilver voice that dances among the stars'- wonderful poem.
A heart-wrenching poem - I can think of only a few worse scenarios - - Knight is am impressive artist, capturing the moment where it will stand for an eternity.
Fascinating cross between the descriptive and the ethereal- I die as I watch..
This is a vivid portrait made poignant and resonant with its ending. -GK
The pain of separation has been painted touchingly. Beautiful poem shared.
See More