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Nin Andrews

My Aphrodisiac

Now that you are gone, I want to tell you, you are wrong. About everything.

Consider perspective as a case in point. You loved to inform me that far-away things appear smaller. I am here to tell you that distant things grow bigger. Missing objects are the largest of all. Their shadows can loom above us and darken an entire universe. In a single instant, they build cities of memory without a misplaced word.

I know this for a fact. At a certain point in a life, an absence begins to grow. Your shadow, for example, is now drifting across my sheets and ceilings. Just the other night, you were standing behind me in the mirror and in the department store windows and on the subway and at Arabica’s coffee shop, and when I stared at my eyes to apply mascara, I glimpsed you in the dark glow of my pupils. In desperation, I called to a man walking beneath my window on a summer night, and he became you, answering my call with a grin, opening the door to my apartment

with his sleeves rolled up to your elbows, your cold smoker’s fingers. Instantly I caught a whiff of his fragrance, inhaled him as deeply as a summer rose. Such a scent! Call it bliss, eternity, oblivion, seventh heaven, the names of a thousand and one perfumes, the scent of a man in heat. Oh yes, men are in heat, everywhere. Now that you are gone.

Nin Andrews, The Prose Poem: An International Journal (Vol. 8, 1999)

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