Photo by David Navarro
I didn’t understand the indelible nature of lust, how decades later it would mark me like a drunken tattoo—high on grapefruit vodka, the violet lure of the neon sign, the buzzing of the needle before it seared skin. Sometimes, in the hours of night made bleak by solitude, I pull back blinds and imagine—in the empty Adirondack on my deck—a former lover, one of several in the years I’ve been single. Not the most important, just the most recent. Tonight, I will sit with that ghost. Small talk will be irrelevant. I’ll listen for nothing but my own breath: each exhalation a question, each inhalation a precise and unalterable answer. From a distance, the deck will look like a raft on a calm sea. But the solitary bulb will cast shadows like abstract art—intuitive and indecipherable—and the heavens will remain shrouded by clouds. How impossible to navigate without a single star.
Lavonne J. Adams lives in the coastal community of Wilmington, North Carolina, where she teaches as she writes. She received the 2007 Pearl Poetry Prize for Through the Glorieta Pass, “documentary poetry” based on women who travelled the Santa Fe Trail in the mid-1800’s. Her life is a little less adventurous, though she has spiced it up a bit with residencies at the Harwood Museum of Art and the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation, Taos, as well as the Vermont Studio Center. Journal publications include Sojourn, New South, and Missouri Review.