—After The Tree of Life, Stoclet Frieze (1905–1909) by Gustav Klimt
And so what if I am, thinking of you? You who brought me Bob Mackie perfume and godawful books by Henry Miller. You whom I have always loved. Once at a party, after you returned from Budapest, you dropped the bomb: you were going to ask her to marry you. And you did. Sometimes, even after that, you’d text or email in the night, tell me you’d awakened from a dream. Once, you said we were picking emeralds in an orchard in the snow: we held them in my apron, against my pale bare breasts. Another time, another dream, we were alone in a room and you’d awakened because your mouth was all tangled up in me. I didn’t know whether I was dead or alive when you said those things.
To come down from the fairy tales you told me, I would stare straight ahead at the blank black of the ceiling, hypnotized by my mobile’s blinkering glare. Sometimes I got out of bed and walked down to the water and listened at that edge, seeking signs in the sprinkle of pointy lights and the moon. Much later, again, with nowhere left to turn, we turned to each other. I was a widow by then, still young, but almost too old for your children. You reached for me, peeling back the quilt and pulling it back over us, and we held each other until the morning. We never once took off our clothes, but I got stuck on the way you touched my face and how your eyes stayed open when you kissed me.
You said our child would be bigger than Picasso. You, me, our fucking blood, baby, you cried, your hands pressed against my belly, as if I needed convincing. Why you said such a thing, I will never know: you never came close to planting that seed.
You do not know how I sat there with a tiny diamond in my hand, thinking I could make up the lost time, be part of some sort of a family. I was insane, and sad, and planning to bestow that small stone to you. It was everything I had. You never came.
Every week it was another story, another cold wok stirred with untouched sesame and snow peas. The last time I waited in vain, I swallowed that stone. Popped back that diamond like a bad pill. I wanted it gone. Drank both bottles alone, and threw up in the ravine in the backyard. If I was half hoping in my misery for you to find me, you didn’t: it was a dog in the morning, sniffing for a spot to piss in. I did what I had always done after my epic messes: I stood up, brushed off my jeans, and got on with it.
I thought of you today because of a dream I had—that a tree grew in the woods out back of where I used to live, branches heavy laden, a weeping willow covered in dew and diamonds and heaving low to the earth. It had grown out of that small sparkle seed I had unwittingly planted, there, in my sick and my grief.
studied journalism at Ryerson University, but went on to pursue creative writing and
visual art after graduating. The author of more than 20 books, she writes most often
about art, travel, and interesting people. She has several books of essays on these
subjects, as well as four of poetry, with a fifth collection featuring ekphrastic prose
Ms. Luzajic is the founder and editor of The Ekphrastic Review (established 2015), a publication devoted
exclusively to publishing poetry and prose inspired by visual art. Her own prose and
poems have appeared in hundreds of publications, including Bookslut, Calliope,
Cargo Literary, Cultural Weekly, Everyday Poetry, the Fiddlehead, Grain,
Indelible, KYSO Flash, Main Street Rag, Misfit, Nine Muses Poetry, Peacock Journal,
Rattle, Taxicab Mag, and Wild Word, as well as in numerous anthologies
such as Unsheathed (ed. Betsy Mars, Kingly Street Press) and The Group
of Seven Reimagined (ed. Karen Schauber, Heritage Books).
Her writing has been nominated twice for the Best of the Net award and twice
for the Pushcart Prize, and her award-winning mixed-media artwork has been exhibited
around the world, from the Royal Ontario Museum to Mexico to Tunisia.
Artist’s website: www.mixedupmedia.ca