The Lovers (Dream Journal 2/94)

Along the boulevard, two lovers kiss under a flickering street lamp; a poodle trails behind a woman carrying bread, fresh and hot from the oven. At one side of the square, a blonde woman sips wine in the glow of her cigarette. Her eyes hide behind dark glasses. She doesn't have bread. Just two books. One, thick and heavy, the other quite thin.
The thin volume, Baudelaire's Les Fleurs du Mal lays open on the table. Soft raspy noises escape from the woman's moving lips. She weeps Les Fleurs du Mal. Les Fleurs du Mal. Les Fleurs du Mal. A man in the white apron and black beret leans against the side of a produce truck. A cigarette dangles from his lips.
"Hey, Magda," he shouts. "Close the book, Magda. How sweet thy breast, thy heart. Come kiss me."
She doesn't move.
"Come kiss me." The man's lips smack together as he sucks on his cigarette.
The woman snaps a brittle retort and shrugs her shoulders. She closes the book, and pinches tobacco from a Drum pouch, and sprinkles it onto a paper. Her tongue flicks out of her mouth as she licks the edge. She quickly twists the ends, and slids the cigarette between her lips. A red glow burns a hole into the night. Wisps of smoke curl up through the leaves and disappear into an open upstairs window.
The artist stops painting and breaths deeply. It is a smell he remembers, the smell of a not quite forgotten lover late at night after making love. Veiling the painting, he raises the window and leans into the moonlight.
Below, Magda stubs her cigarette in a tin ashtray before dropping it into a half empty glass.

My breathing, no longer a harsh shallow rasp, eases, and quiets as moist air fills my lungs.