The Figment of Fondness

Donnique Williams

I’m in love with a foreign memory, a phantom,
a figure I’ve only known in glimpses
whose existence is not certain.
Only alive in her gifted memories, in the memories of another
can you live on.
But in my soul, I’ve known you.

We’ve lived a thousand years, a thousand lives
and I die a little every time
because I know it will never be more than in my mind.

Across enemy lines all I see is destruction
and my heart screams to leave these feelings behind.
But her memory reminds
and I’m thrust back into hopeless longing.

It doesn’t help that you’ve drawn me so close.
I call out for release that never comes
because I know I want to see.
So I venture into No-Man’s-Land
I step across the boundaries
and leave myself vulnerable to your debilitating attacks.

I’m drunk with the idea of peace.

And you taunt me. With invisible glances
quickened touches
and then retreat just as quickly,
like the chameleon’s tongue.
The chameleon, you’re ever-changing,
stealthy, aloof.
Looking this way, that way
trying to find a way in
or a way out.
Yes, you always walk alone
your back to the wall,
blending with background
but standing out farther than you know.
But you know.
Because you’ve put yourself there.
Always.
Always upstage, away,
but always centre, always seen
always acknowledged.
So here you stand
a statue with many faces
a Mona Lisa smile hiding the secrets of your lost world.
Only visible through the glimpses
the cracks
the phantom movements of your hopelessness and fear.

But still you draw me with your intelligent pain,
your quiet bitterness.
Because inside, you know I have the tools
and you know I love to use them.
But you won’t let me assess the damage.
Those true deep cracks
what’s behind the smile
your faces
your chameleon nature
your aloof charm,
what is your true brokenness?

Or do I want to see it?
Can I only love the foreign memories?
And live with those veiled glimpses?
The mysteries in that smile?
The war-torn wallflower tendencies?
Can I remain sane in that hopeful uncertainty?
Or do I press on
passed the bloody barbed wire and

rotting hearts from battles won and lost?
Press on with no shield, no weapons
just love and hopes of peace?

I will.
I will I press on because through the rosy glasses I don
I know the truth.
I know that you hide
with your camouflage, your secret smiles, and your silent screaming.
I know that even as you retreat in pride

you call out just the same for me to cross the lines

and save you from your war within.
I know that behind

your broken soul is your broken heart.
And I know I have the tools.
But will you let me use them?

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