James Valvis

The Woman Who Never Came Before

She came and you touched her,
miss­ing noth­ing, between toes,
beneath eye­lash­es, like salt air
you coat­ed heart, hair, teeth, ears.
She came in a car and on crutches,
with cham­pagne, poems, and Prozac.
Sometimes she came alone,
oth­er times with some­one else,
two becom­ing three, four, more,
the smell of them com­ing too.
She most­ly came at night,
the shad­ow of her swaying.
She came clos­er and closer.
She came first, eyes shut tight,
shocked, full of fan­tas­tic disbelief.
She came until you were incidental,
invis­i­ble agent of her disappearing,
and when she reopened her eyes,
she came alive only to herself,
so you were noth­ing, or less,
until, com­ing to, she came back,
but not com­plete­ly, no,
nev­er came all the way back.
In time, she came just to come.
In time, she nev­er came again.


James Valvis lives in Issaquah, Washington. His poems or sto­ries have appeared in AM, Confrontation, Eclectica, Glint, Pearl, Rattle, Red Fez, Slipstream, and are forth­com­ing in Arts & Letters, Atlanta Review, Bananafish, Blip, Crab Creek Review, Gargoyle, Hanging Loose, Los Angeles Review, Midwest Quarterly, Nimrod, Pank, South Carolina Review, and else­where. A col­lec­tion of his poems is forth­com­ing from Aortic Books.