The first time he had met her,
the last time he had met her,
he brought her up to the second floor studio
that he rented out on Abbot Street,
Where he fixed her tea,
sitting her down in a dusty velvet chair
that he had newly recruited from
an abandoned flat up the road-
He had drawn her first in charcoal
then swept watercolors across her visage,
as the powdered pigment motes whirled
in the late afternoon light.
She spoke little at first,
offering him no more
than leery consideration
before finally shirking off her cheap, flowered dress.
He knew how the curve of her spine felt
cradled in his palms,
remembered her holding his hand once
while he slipped into the inevitable darkness.
She recalled the stroke of his cheek against hers,
in each moment as it were,
whether he had been a man with the stubble of growth
or still as a boy smelling sweetly of water.
And next door, in another universe
Chopin invented gods and prayer-
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