In the silence we talk about films by Godard,
you tell me that you’re afraid
that our world is what’s left of a set design
for some unwatched film from the 60’s.
You are a scarf that has lost its neck
and in terror is fleeing the sunset.
Smoke that is dashing over rooftops,
glancing over its shoulder in fear.
“What if I was Jean Seberg
in another life?” you ask.
“What if our memories are nothing–
just jump cuts and camera tricks?”
Suddenly we are on the roof.
You are naked, except for my coat
around your shoulders.
Though my thoughts are with you,
my body is stumbling
down a long narrow street
somewhere in France.
In one version of our lives
my body turns to you,
says in French
“You’re a bitch.”
In another version
the translation is wrong
and it’s simply “you’re a scumbag.”
Here the film is distorted
and when my mind turns
to speak, I see only the back
of your head in a 360° circle.
I leave the roof to reconstruct myself
in the safety of your driver’s seat.
I am skeptical of those clouds
that have not moved in hours
and now seem flat and painted in
Dexter L. Booth is the author of one poetry collection, Scratching the Ghost (Graywolf Press, 2013), which won the 2012 Cave Canem Poetry Prize and was selected by Major Jackson. His poems have been published in Blackbird, Grist, Willow Springs, Virginia Quarterly, Ecotone, and the anthology The Burden of Light: Poems on Illness and Loss, as well other publications. Booth is an alum of the MFA Program in Creative Writing at Arizona State University and currently teaches poetry and English. More information can be found at his website: www.dexterlbooth.com