we are moving forward with our plans but some things still hold me back

The mornings are cold now. There are things I don’t know how to say. I zip up my sweatshirt, slip my thumbs through its holes. It leaves my fingers cold.

Today I will go to the river. I will throw stones. I will lean out over the broken rail until it is almost too hard to remember standing on the ground.

The dream is a familiar dream. There is always water. There is water and there is rain. And there is the bridge.

Not a bridge, you say: A viaduct. A viaduct crosses land.

But I am not in the mood to ask questions. I am not in the mood to talk about construction. Or bridge design. Or spans and pylons.

You say: If you are hungry, I will make you a sandwich. I will make you a sandwich and put it on a plate and carry it upstairs to you, in bed.

But you don’t mean it. You will get to the base of the stairs and forget. You will get halfway up the stairs and you will have to sit down. You will get to the top of the stairs and you will be hungry. When you finally enter the room, hours later, my mouth will be open.

You will put your fingers in my open mouth and your fingers will be wet.

The Millau Viaduct spans the valley of the river. There are masts and there are pylons but I can’t keep them straight. Please don’t talk to me about construction.

You tell me to bring a sweater. It will be cold there and you don’t like the cold. You are sitting in your green chair in your underwear. You are standing behind the curtain, waiting.

You are halfway up the stairs but you have forgotten me, waiting in our bed with my mouth open.

The dream is a familiar dream. I am leaning out over the broken rail until I cannot feel the ground.

In the time that it takes to travel the long road from Bezier to Paris, you can box up all the oranges and send them across the ocean. You can wrap them in tissue paper like Christmas ornaments. Let them rest when they arrive, you say. They have traveled far.

When the mornings are cold, I will feed you oranges with my fingers, place the sections in your open mouth.

I zip up my sweatshirt and walk down to the river. Have fun, you say, but you don’t mean it.

I have drawn us a map of the Languedoc. I have drawn the subway map of Paris. Don’t talk to me about design, you say.

We will build our house in Bezier, I say, but you are not listening. You are peeling oranges and your fingers are wet.

By the time we are old we will have forgotten the oranges. We will no longer climb the stairs. You will emerge from the bath, your skin sagging and pale, your fingers wet. There will be steam rising from the water.

I pack our sweaters. I pack my pockets with stones. I make a sandwich but I have forgotten hunger.

You forget that I am hungry. You forget that I am waiting in our bed. You forget that I don’t want to talk about construction.

I am cold. I am wet. The dream is always the same.

We will build our house in Bezier, I say. I will carry the stones with my hands. I will throw the stones in the river. I will lean out over the broken rail.

We can take the train to the city, you say. And you draw the subway map. Here, you say, and you point with your finger.

You are sitting in a chair. You are standing behind the door. You are waiting at the river.

Your open mouth.