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by Janet Leister

Our dance stilted,

we stumble over unseen obstacles

gilt ghosts in the gallery reminding us

of all the reasons why

you and I cannot be

I saw her with you,

unaware of your soul's betrayal,

oblivious to our soaring hearts.

Does she know, does she care?

Or are you merely her mask

of respectability,

donned for public occasions?

My own ghost hovers nearby

watching for the slightest crack

in his wall of possession

He imagines my infidelity under every shadow,

behind every passing glance.

How can he now fail to see

my divided loyalties, and your

stalwart adoration of his chattel?

Lost in creating their own worlds, I suppose,

they have allowed us ours, if only

of ink, paper, words

you call our love pure

but Eros and Agapé struggle anew

and I fear the outcome is known:

brief passion, bodies wet and sated,

lives broken and bleeding,

the detritus of our weakness

the price of bliss

I think you were blinded

by the last westering rays on my locket

through the haze I see it so clearly

as we dance again in dreams

you kiss my hand and bow deeply

your poet's mask my undoing

yet knowing, I surrender

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