Echoes

The accordion ebb and flow of
infatuation. Waltzing, Parisian
lovers entwined. They once stood
silhouetted in the hazy ember of
Sunday twilight.
Separated by a plague, their world
halted on its axis and spun the opposite.
They shout toward one another as a
fissure flexes and casts them away from each other.
Their ears cupped to hear as their cries fade and
echo; eventually lost to any reverberation.

by Erik Shinker

Validation

Tell me I’m
handsome,
beautiful,
talented,
wanted,
needed.

Tell me that
you love me, that
you only want to be near me, that
you can’t live without me, that
I’m yours, and
no one else’s.

Tell me you’ll be there
for me, for
yourself, for
us.

Tell me I’m
worth it, I’m
not giving up, I’m
not alone in this.
Lie to me, if
you have to.

by Erik Shinker

As If

I dream of sticky lips
in poised and yearning embrace.
Tongues teased to taste
a single drop of splendor.

Palms gliding in soft,
urgent pressure.
Hard and soft, diametrically opposed yet
natural in their coupling.

The words themselves causing excitement
from nipple to navel, through
thigh and ascended, blushing cheeks.

An ideal of intimacy with
partnership past the simplicity of
laying lovers.

As if such things could
be made manifest simply by my
wishing.

by Erik Shinker

Heartbeat

I am a cliché,
I have pined after
the loss I have heard
sung as a lover’s lament.

I once felt that pain’s sharpness,
but now it is gone from me;
dulled to a numbing ache, a
vibration through my being
barely registered amid my breathing.

All I can do is tilt my head to
tip out the tears, and
tap my toe to the
heartbeat pulse of another
sad love song.

by Erik Shinker

Lifeline

I am throwing out a
lifeline, though
there is no guarantee.

A whisper against the dark, seeking
something more than myself.
This hope, though grave, and
sought in the wrong way, is
all I have left.

A grasping, gasping exhale;
one last shout before I sink beneath.
Unsure of that which I seek,
but certain of what it’s not,
I stumble through life on
severed limbs,
cauterized nubs.

I am maimed, by
my own hand; by
hers.
The deepest of wounds left to
fester and rot beneath
scaled scar tissue.

But in my deformity, I cast
this line once more;
my only faith
in us.

by Erik Shinker

Infatuation

Cerulean eyes glare with
passion. Bleached threads
dangle from a
sun-kissed scalp.

Intensity holds a
stare atop a soft smile
which hides a full, toothy
laugh inside
for fear of
becoming vulnerable.

Could I ever
satisfy? Could I conjure
that smile?
Have I merely formed
my own idea of
who and what
she is?
I make assumptions of what
she wants, how
she sees the world, what
makes her truly
special.

by Erik Shinker

Decisions

I can’t get up on my own
anymore, darling.
I can’t support myself,
or you.

I am tired, and scared, and I
see the end coming
closer each day.
I know I am experiencing many things
for the last time, but
I dwell too much on that
fact to enjoy them.

The kids make sacrifices for
us, and they’re willing to do
even more.
But in our stubborn refusal,
we are wearing them thin.

We made our own way, and
we have been strong,
but I am weak;
I cannot pretend to be
anything else anymore.

I am tired, my love.
You can’t keep laughing off
my frailty as little lapses in concentration.

We need help, and we need
to get it while we can still benefit.
I love you, and I don’t
want to disappoint you, but
I’m nearing the edge and we
need to have some
tough conversations.

We can’t continue in denial.
Death will come; that’s inevitable.
When I meet my creator, I want to do so
with dignity;
not as a dusty husk.

I am so proud of
you, of
us, of
our children and
grandchildren and
great-grandchildren.

We have come so far, and there is a
little further to go, but
some difficult decisions remain
before we separate
and reunite.

by Erik Shinker

Strawberry Lovers

Sweet.
Tangy.
Ripe like
plump lips;
a pale imitation when
premature.

Some add sugar;
a softening, synthetic sweetener for
those unwilling to accept the
built-in bitterness of its nature.

Some bite deep, severing the stem and smiling;
blood-red evidence of their enjoyment dripping
through bleached enamel.
A moment’s ecstasy, a cry of passion, a
sudden regret.

They do
not
savor the flavor, but rather
put on a show for all to see,
intentionally ignorant of their
lie and disdain for the taste.

Some engulf entirely, unaware or
uncaring for the fruit’s
comfort, its dignity.
They seek the fullness of experience and
leave nothing behind but
rejected leaves covered in
spit-slicked residue.
Left bereft of their sweetness, their
value, their
worth.

Gently, in thrusting lust, through the
long deterioration of time, or discarded
in the wake of moldering rot;
all will be consumed in one way
or another.

by Erik Shinker