Smoke and Mirrors

by Nancy Machlis Rechtman

The sun setting over a body of water

She feels her way through the dappled landscape
Cradling the memories of a time when it was filled with light
And hope
And dreams
Instead of this endless echo chamber
Of loneliness
Where she now resides.

The sun has yielded to the moon’s prowess
Sinking slowly across the Western sky
But this is no quiet exit
As streaks of orange and yellow flames are splashed
Across the celestial canvas
In bursts of fireworks
For the final show of the day.

The night sky is hung with stars
That taunt her with their merry twinkles
As they dance around the moon she once loved
Like young girls dressed in their finest white dresses
Spinning around the Maypole with abandon.

She sinks down onto the tender grass
As she remembers the heat of his lips on her neck
And the urgency of his body seeking hers
And how she was sure this was forever
Until he pulverized her heart into pieces as infinite
As all of the grains of sand in the Universe
Revealing the smoke and mirrors he had used
As a blueprint.

She tried to heal herself
With men who reminded her of him
By the way they looked
In the way they spoke
And the way they made love.

But the emptiness only grew
Once she realized they were merely anemic stand-ins
And there was no understudy
Who could play the leading role
And learn the script
To fill the void inside her.

She gazes up at the silver crescent perched above her
And she can’t help but wonder if he’s looking at it, too
She can feel the touch of his hands
And the fire of his lips
And she wonders whose neck he’s kissing tonight
And whose body is melting into his.
She tries to push the memories back into the night
And make them disappear
Like a sleight of hand
When the ace of diamonds vanishes from the magician’s fingers
With the flick of a wrist
And she shakes herself like a wet dog
As she pulls herself up
And takes one last look at the glittering sky
That once held so much promise
As her bare feet grasp onto each blade of grass
Attempting to find her balance
Slowly stepping further into the darkness
Towards the empty, silent house calling her home.

Category: Featured, Poetry