The Claiming Moon

by proustitute

Some decade ago when my body was still lithe nubile elastic and gravity and I were as yet unacquainted I remember quarreling with you in a carpark under a waxing moon that the Celts called the moon of claiming while sounds of drums and bass and the neurotic scratching of records poured out of open windows because it was a sweltering summer not only because it was ours          You had been displaying me as if I were a new dog on a leash whose length had not yet been measured because we were still strangers despite the fact that I let you cum inside me we were testing the other’s boundaries seeing which I I was when I was with you and vice versa but I was no prize so I took my words out onto the broiling tarmac and started to rip plump pages to pieces one by one until you grabbed my hand and said “Do you know how much I love you?” leaving marks on my wrists like a vise that went unexplained but not unquestioned for days          The growing moon was just behind your right ear throwing your face into a fanciful chiaroscuro as if you were a demented god and the small putrid pond that ran near the block of flats was not quiet like the heat but tongued and lolled in strange waves hooked to a machine a sound so ancient that not even the riot we had left indoors could drown its ripple out           I stopped not because of what you said or how you bruised me out of love or out of some drive to save words you had never once laid eyes on but because I had to retort with something respond in kind I could only tell you how I had been unfaithful but that I did not remember his name and how ever since I had been on antibiotics and that you too should probably take a course just to be cautious all the while shredding the poems as your hand left mine free throwing them into the barely visible pond where the moonlight caught them before they slowly sopped then drowned          When we returned to the party I let you take one of my hands just where you had welted it and kiss me possessively on the lips in front of everyone who was gathered around the music hanging onto my arm like I was a trophy or a crutch or else as if you might teeter forward or backward like you were floored somehow without my weight added to your own and the smiles and upraised eyebrows that greeted us seemed to agree with our absence thinking we had gone outside on our own to fuck rather than to put fucking between us on the table like an unsheathed weapon          In the morning there were empty bottles and ashtrays overflowing onto the threadbare carpet and urine on the floor in the bathroom and blood on the sheets where you had finally silenced me when the words had gone     I went along with you to the doctor’s office and the pharmacy to pick up a round of azithromycin and we never once spoke about the man I mentioned by the hungry water that night the moon somehow made me realize I didn’t want you anymore but that if you wanted me I must at least dethrone you quick wield the power in some way make you feel as small as the half-sized words I’d written and which on some crepuscular morning after when your snoring had kept me awake all through the night I finally found collected at the sides of the pond alongside dead gulls as if they would not die so easily at least not yet           And so I still write those words on occasion when I can call you to mind without anger or without a sense of having lost a limb as if I were a sequoia or a whole body thinking through words I write and then just as quickly erase how I made you powerless because I myself was lame crippled confused about the rhythms of how we came together in a way I have yet to uncover          I never woke you in all of the years we slept side by side not even when the words were words you wanted to hear for by that time we could speak only in notes left on a dry-erase board on the refrigerator or else in glances furtive like thieves conspiring to feign a love that should have perished a decade before when the moon made you look like a shattered god whom I could never worship and that dawn I recall with trepidation when leaving you lying in death throes as I skimmed the edges of the water somehow all my words were returned to me intact like a warning or a revelation I have yet to decide which