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The Art Of Delusion - Poem by Indira Donegan

For one hundred and seventy four days
She wore the same dangling pink
Mother of pearl cabochon earrings
Every time they met.

Silver filigree that framed
The stones rendered them Celtic,
Like her name, which sounded like,
“I love you, ” every time he said it.

Only this one pair did she ever display
For him when they met. A little of her for
Him was all she really had to give, and
He was happy to take it.

All her things he loved came in pairs:
Smoky eyes, chubby lips and feet with
Toes dressed in red. But her personal favorite
Were the orgasms that came in triplicate.

When nakedness felt like an old tee shirt,
He left, as he had always planned.
They quit each other like two smokers,
Cold turkey.

Back and forth they promised to write
If the other wrote first. They kissed in the
Awkward silence of a goodbye dance,
Memorized by lovers who fool for love.

It was after two days alone
In a room that always preferred
The company of two,
She realized she was missing one.

Smuggled in a pocket as a token that
Would remind him of impossible
Beginnings, that fall asleep on the fuzzy
Chest of what could have been.

The very idea kept her satiated
For months. She pined for him too,
Unusually so. Perhaps he was wrong,
Leaving before their summer had ended.

Everything was clear now,
Unread letters and unanswered messages.
They begged to be returned, in a clutched
Hand that held tight to a pink cabochon.

In a flurry of hope she packed her music,
Her dreams, and his favorite perfume,
Desperate to find him all over again.
But found something else instead.

An earring that dangled pink framed in
Silver filigree, that had fallen careless
By the dresser’s side. All this time pretending
It was hiding under his pillow at night.

Trapped in a ball of dust and hair, it laid
Lifeless, light years away from the world she
Had hoped to find it in. She buried it in a box
Next to its once widowed mate, alone.

Unpacking her life, she flushed what was left
Of his favorite perfume down the toilet. With red
Eyes and a parched mouth, she spoke her own name,
Realizing it sounded nothing like, “I love you.”

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