Nocturne: The Bedroom


Xavier Villaurrutia

Death always takes the shape

of our bedroom.

It is concave and dark, silent and warm,

it gathers in the curtains where the shadows take shelter,

it is hard in the mirror and icy and tense,

deep in the pillows, white in the sheets.

We both know that death takes the shape

of our bedroom, and that in the bedroom

there's a cold space that erects

a wall, a crystal, a silence between us.

Then, only I know that death

is the hollow you leave in our bed

when suddenly, for no reason,

you sit up or you stand.

And it is the crackling of burning leaves

your bare feet make across the rug.

And it is the sweat that wets our thighs

that lock and struggle and then surrender.

And it is the sentence you interrupt and let drop.

And in my question you don't hear,

you don't understand, you don't answer.

And the silence that falls and entombs you

as I watch over your sleep and wonder.

And I, only I know that death

is the choked words, the strange groans

and the obscure involuntary movements you make

when you wrestle the angel of sleep in your sleep.

Death is all this and more that encircles us,

and brings us together, pulls us apart,

and finally leaves us confused, startled, hanging,

with a wound that doesn't bleed.

Then, only then, both of us alone know

that it is not love, but darkened death

that makes us look, face and face in each other's eyes,

and reach and come together, more than alone and stranded,

still more, and each time more, even still.


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