It's easier to remember you when the sky starts over,
scrubbing the landscape gray-faced and grim. 

All the detailed darlings of memory
creep out then, like children tip-toeing

the mopped hallway to the bathroom, quiet
and cringing. How bittersweet it was to tend

to the rough and say we liked it. When I
thought we were finally getting to the gristle,

shiny and tough and nothing to do
but spit it out or swallow it whole,

you pulled a sleight of hand
and let your napkin fall.

We each recalled our coax; you would have
my answer if I left your silence alone.

Ease your coat off for a while, I said,
and you said you'd wait. While you waited, I unveiled

everything. I loved the way you listened,
but I didn't comprehend:

this was about resistance.
The comfort you craved hurt so badly to want.

This was the dress rehearsal, not
where clothes were shed backstage. By the time

you left, I had hold of a thread on you. You
were wringing my limp dress, but you wouldn't look at me.

You said something deprecating about my need.
My last words will always be 

my last, gray-faced and grim. I am still
small though and contemplating. In my dreams,

the thread is a rope, and I'm reducing the space
between us. Awake, I know the line

is slack. What I am pulling to me is
what you were willing to leave behind.

Natalie Easton is a 31-year-old poet living in Connecticut. To date, the highlight of her literary career has been a generous grant she received from Poets & Writers, Inc., to read at an art gallery. Her work has appeared in such publications as Up the Staircase Quarterly, Ink Sweat & Tears, and most recently The Wild Goose Poetry Review.

One day while it was raining I was thinking of the relationship I was, unbeknownst to me at the time, about to recount in this poem.  When I turned and looked out my window at the gray air and the low sky, I considered the ease with which certain memories surface when the weather is poor; you are suddenly immersed, and will remain that way for as long as those things would like to have you.  From these thoughts the poem came naturally, escorted in by a recollection from my childhood.  Subsequent drafts took me much longer to work out.  I blame it on the sun.




Copyright 2009