The hotel bar downstairs
was dirty and dark and almost empty
except for him whom I didn’t know
I lost my balance
because evil is aroused by absence
Outside on the island
a brick city had grown up and old
A person could only nibble on its shadows
Where was my beloved?
The cornerstone was familiar
and I didn’t understand why infinity
was seeping into my hair
“He’s out of his bottle”
I guess it meant
Temporarily out of service and empty.
But then there was Arsene
beside the last remaining cabin
wandering with his eyes on the camera
Dynamite in his pocket
and a piece of thread
to trap a rabbit.
Evil is a growing thing
It has its own gravity
and never answers to its name
It is a hole into chaos. It is real
Arsene held me in his arms
He was drunk as usual
and his nipple smelled of rum
But still I loved him—
loved him madly!—
as if he was the one
Fanny Howe, "One Night in Balthazar" from Golden Handcuffs Review, vol. 1, #2. Copyright © 2003 by Fanny Howe. Reprinted by permission of the author.
Source: Golden Handcuffs Review Vol. 1 #2 (2003)