“the flame of a tiger lily”


And if I was a length of silk
I would run through your hands
like a gleaming sari
turn slightly for you in the light
sometimes gold
sometimes amber
sometimes the flame of a tiger lily
wrap myself around your waist
remind you fine things
to be loved

— Ruth Forman


Had a long day, with some strangeness, some amusement, some inspiration … and the pleasure of conversation with a man I like very much but who is utterly off limits.  I really want men to start walking around with flashing neon signs over their heads that inform unsuspecting women of their relationship status.  Had I known, in the moment that I met this man, that he was married, I would have thought, “What a nice guy,” gotten to know him, maybe made friends, not had anything to worry about.  But I didn’t know and had time to develop a serious crush before I “discovered” his wife.  Hence the “utterly off limits,” but what do I do with my feelings?  What do I do with the fact that I might like to be friends but the rest gets in my way?  What do I do with the fact that he is so comfortably physically affectionate with me (in a “friend” way, not a “grimy” way — as my students would have said)?

Well of course, you know what I do: I write another nove otto!  Because it’s not as serious as all that.  I do like this man but even without his wife, the idea of him is fairly untenable.  He lives forever away from here and my head is currently a little too full of AC to leave much room for anyone else.  Still, seeing him today was an unexpected reminder of just how interested I let myself become before I learned his status.  See how handy that neon sign would have been for me?

A friend’s kiss, his arms around me.
It’s nothing more for him. I see
that, know it. Of course. Yes, of course.
The distance, yes. And, too, his wife —
starve my desire, choke its life.
Or try to. It’s here still, full force
waking me up on this grey day,
pushing me, warning: “Walk away,
the end of this path is remorse.”

It really isn’t that serious, but that’s how the poem came out.  Tomorrow I’ll be spending the whole day working with him.  I think I need to get over myself and just sit back and enjoy the view!


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