Five Coats of Varnish

11 Dec
I'm alone in a room full of ghosts; 
a dark brown cabinet stands about six feet to my right. 
It's about a hundred and sixty - 
from the mid-eighteen hundreds. 

My old flame and I drove to Terre Haute to get it 
from her grandpa Denzel; 
he was nearly ninety at the time.
she was fifty, took three kinds of anti-psychotics, 
smoked three packs of Marlboro Lights a day, 
and blew as many blunts 
as she chanced to score. 

I met her on MySpace in a poetry room. 
She gushed over my poetry &
she wanted to email me personally. 
Her poetry blog titled 
"Words of an Angel" had
a kind of simplicity and primitive appeal.
It was childlike and arousing. 
She sent me a video of her dancing sensually 
in a black sweater and sheer skirt 
to Dido's White Flag. 
She danced as unsophisticated as she wrote.  
Her unassuming charm taunted and teased me, 
so, in September 2007, I went to Indiana to visit her. 
We spoke about poetry for a while, 
then we flirted, and ... 

Five months later, we got married
and moved to Ohio, 
& on the very night
I carried her across the threshold
she overdosed on Klonopin,
which made her like a zombie 
for about three days. I sent her back 
to her apartment in Indiana 
to get checked by her psychologist. 

The marriage didn't last 
because she fancied 
an Indiana drugstore cowboy on the side. 
She filed for divorce after three months. 
But even during the process, 
she would drive up to see me in Ohio.
The divorce was finalized. 

But I drove down to Indiana a month later 
and married her again. 
She was on new anti-psychotics for BPD, 
though I had no idea what that was. 
After Christmas, while I was at work, 
she attempted suicide in the living room. 
She had swallowed about twenty-five Klonopin 
with some liquor. I called 911, and they
pumped her stomach at the nearest 

After that, she went back 
to her old apartment in Indiana. 
She met another poet on MySpace,
who she said was her true soul mate.
He sent her a plane ticket to meet him
in California. She wanted my approval.
So we divorced the second time
a year after our first, 

I never saw her again. 

Until A few months ago - 
when I saw her obituary online
with a tribute of pictures, many of which
I took of her. 
The cigarettes must've got her. 

I sit here haunted, missing her, 
with her family cabinet glowering
six feet to my right.


Posted by on December 11, 2021 in About Me, Poetry


2 responses to “Five Coats of Varnish

  1. Deborah Davies

    June 29, 2022 at 1:15 pm

    I’m so sorry you lost the love of your life. Beautiful poem.


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