It always started with a kiss.
A kiss that shocked her from her lips to her hips
and sent her reeling down rabbit holes
searching for something that sings like hallelujah.
But by the time Gloria regained consciousness
to the sound of a needle riding an empty groove,
all she found was the window he'd left open,
And a bone;
A marrow-filled keepsake abandoned on the sill.
She wrapped it in ripped gossamer from
her grandmother's wedding veil and
placed it neatly in the closet
with all the others.
And as she reapplied the crimson lipstick,
brushed too much blush over sunken cheeks,
and outlined her eyes in waterproof mascara,
she felt the draft more than ever before.
"A home can be an awfully lonely place for love..."
she murmured to her autumn tree self,
then she stepped out of the door, lips puckered
and primed of every proof that she was
anything but a virgin.
One tube of lipstick, a femur, two collarbones
and half a jaws worth of teeth later,
she sat sprucing up to that same
skipping scratch of a static-air record and
pushing the thought of how her grandmother died
to the back of her mind,
as she tied perfect bows with the ribbons of veil.
"A bed can be an awfully lonely place for love..."
she whispered to her bare-finger self.
Then once more, she slipped into a city
whose slogan read:
Take it easy, it's hard being human these days.
After each season changed in a dozen different ways,
her summer-Merilyn blonde had
withered winter-newspaper grey,
Her knuckles and joints baptized in arthritis,
She could hardly bring the religion of her hands to
raise up the ribcage, fresh enough to
still smell of morning breath.
But this time she did not retire
to the closet turned mausoleum,
instead, she emptied the tomb of all
these ex-lovers' leftovers,
all the bare-bones of the best parts of
these midnight escape artists
who never fully got away,
and Gloria made for herself a makeshift man.
One that would never keep her warm,
but would never leave her
frozen by an open window sill either.
One with an empty chest that offered no treasures,
but didn't have the guts to chase the morning afters.
"A heart can be an awfully lonely place for love..."
she mouthed to her silent-breasted self,
as she bent down for one last
unconducted, dusty kiss.