(For my friend P. You have always been so vibrant and alive to me. I will remind you every chance I get.)
When did my colors start to fade?
The first time you overlooked my dress
and the care I took to turn you on, only you weren’t
and aren’t, and can you believe I still try?
When did my paint peel, like a weathered door
that you no longer cared to enter
and I, the gauze ghost behind a pane of cobwebs
stuck between life and death?
When did I become an outline of a woman
all women, any woman
and too soon thereafter, just a frame
so long without my nuance
that I lost my face?
Was it the first time my desire tired you?
Was it the last time you took my energy and rolled your eyes with it
or when you tamped this rambunctious spirit down
with the toe of your sensible work boot?
Honey, draw my portrait.
I have so long forgotten the space between my eyes
and how you once traveled the distance.
Were my lips full, or just swollen with kisses
that once came without request?
I am fading, and who will conjure the me you met?
Who will remind me that I was once a masterpiece
screaming with saturated color,
excitement, and possibility…like a traveling van to Woodstock?
(you hitched a ride… don’t you remember? You stuck out your thumb and said “take me with you.” And I did.)
Sweetheart, do not age me so soon.
Do not pull me into a gray cinched bun
with these tresses still so unwilling to be tamed.
We are not old.
I am not done.
I cannot be the empty frame you just look through
to the chair, where the newspaper holds your eye
and the television, your ear.
Paint me with passion
Leave nothing to memory.
I need to see it all.
Do you remember?
PLEASE show me
before the mirror has no face.