AN: This is one of those poems where, if you understand the whole poem, I'm going to be very concerned for your sanity. But I like it enough to risk flaming, so it's going up :) My first independent attempt at a poem (read: the first poem I wasn't assigned to write). Questions/criticisms um...welcome? .

She saw him last at the station.
Two years hadn't made a mark on him but the train certainly had.
Dragged his body for fifty meters before there wasn't much to drag.
When they found his head it was still smiling.
(All the papers later said he was obviously insane.)

But five minutes ago she had passed him
Noting first his eyes as they studied the papers
--for the pictures, she was sure,
the written word had always been beyond him--
then the rest of his appearance.
He was rather boyish for someone nearing his thirties.
Her husband's arm tightened around her to protect her from this newest threat.
(Rather possessive, other women said, means he'll take care of you
Not like that other one
The last bit said as an aside always loud enough to reach her ears.)
The curious slant of his eyes and his dishevelled hair
Had endeared him to no one but her.

Her breath caught as his eyes roamed
from the paper to her face to a poster.
He didn't recognize her. Had she changed that much,
Or had he never cared, she wondered as her husband led her away.

They sat on a bench. Presently they spoke, flippantly,
As newlyweds are wont, laughing as they chattered.
They kissed. She broke it when her eyes caught another's.
He was watching her without any pretense now,
the newspaper scattered on the ground.
His gaze changed her blood to magma,
burning her from the inside out
until it cooled and hardened to stone.
He was not watching--he was gawking like a fool.
Why should he care if she kissed, or who she kissed?

On her wedding bed she had remembered him, as she probably would on her death bed,
and on every bed, that moment when she had woken up and known she was alone.
Every night that memory plagued her til rest, startled her awake.

He was still watching, waiting for her to do something.
She could chastise him for staring at her, or for leaving her.
(The latter would be more violent than the former.
She smiled at the thought of a good slap to the cheek.)
But that would cause a scene and agitate her husband.
He would simply lap up all the attention.
(He had always grinned when she'd yelled at him.
It was only when she used her cold, quiet tones that he listened--
Why did you do that? What were you thinking?
Are you trying to embarrass me? What will Mother say...)
The old thoughts rose until she brushed them aside,
Leaned over, and gave her husband a second kiss.
Her husband had been the perfect suitor,
Never pressing her, never rushing her--
Never trying to climb into her bedroom at midnight,
unlike one ruffian she could name--
Perfect, reliable, trustworthy. Dull, she couldn't deny. But reliable.

When she searched the crowd again he was gone.
His antics had always been a ploy for attention.
The way to defeat them was to ignore, as her mother had shown.
(At this she frowned, remembering the dinner table set for two when Mother had known he was coming.
Rather than acknowledging the snub, they adapted in his ingenious way--
sitting two on a chair, with him spilling soup on her skirt as he tried to eat blindly.
It was the one time Mother couldn't ignore him, and instead drove him out with a broom.)

But every day they had had together was exciting, up until that last month
rife with arguments. She wasn't sure what they were about. Always trivial
things he threw fits over and she weathered out. Perhaps he'd simply been bored with her.
And that one petulant complaint that came up every time she'd refused to get upset:
"Don't you care?"
As if yelling would help.

There was a sudden cacophony of screams--she and her husband stood, looking around.
She found the cause. It was him again. He was standing on the tracks as a whistle blew,
signaling a train's approach. She had seen this too, the death-defying feat. When they came home
he'd done it with a car to scare all the neighbors. At the right second an agile jump
Would take him out of the way, make half the ladies faint and probably get him arrested.
She'd never seen him do the same trick twice, but then...

He wasn't moving. The train was bearing down on him, braking much too slowly.
There was only a second left to jump. He took that time to turn to her.
Their eyes met, and she saw everything--

His lips, upturned in a fleeting smile to last forever--
His irises, full of petrified sap,
all the sweetness dried to leave
the hollow soul, full of want--

and realized all he'd wanted her to do was yell at him.

Two years hadn't made a mark on him but the train certainly had.
Dragged his body for fifty meters before there wasn't much to drag.
When they found his head it was still smiling.
(All the papers later said he was obviously insane.)

And Mr. and Mrs. Chadwick continued on their honeymoon the next day.

"Don't you care?"