Published in Overland Issue 208 Spring 2012 Main Posts Bonds Cassandra Atherton for Gwen Harwood You wore a white Bonds t-shirt to bed last night. A plain, white, no-nonsense Bonds t-shirt and I knew it was over. I heard the death knell. And when you asked me if I was Emily Dickinson’s ear I nodded. Solitary. Solitaire. Solipsist. ‘For whom does the bell toll?’ you asked that afternoon. Campanologists? Two in Campagna? Campaniles? ‘It tolls for thee.’ R.I.P. my lover. R.I.P. my van winkle. Rip out my heart. Wrap it in your white t-shirt and bury it beneath your floorboards. Still beating. My little drummer boy. You can beat me but I won’t be your fiendish queen, my butcher. My blood on your t-shirt will form a scarlet letter. Spot Out damn spot! You wore a white t-shirt to bed last night when all I wanted was to be stuck to your back. When all I asked was to peel myself off you in the morning and mount your erect compass needle. But now we are done. Donne. And you peel me like a grape. I slither out of my skin. Skinner. Skin me alive. I thought we were conjoined. Destined to travel in circles until we met again, in the middle. Until we found our core. But like Nabokov’s apples, all you manage to achieve is to tempt me with repetition. When I am only your dystopian Eve. There can be no valedictions here. So now our lives are cotton. And although cotton breathes, it is also the sarcophagus of our relationship. Embalmed memories. But I promise to dig you up. Like Heathcliff. Or Rossetti. I promise to unbind you and gather you in my arms. Skin on skin. My sweat will be our glue as I rip off that t-shirt and bond you to me one last time. Cassandra Atherton Cassandra Atherton is an award-winning poet and the poetry editor for Westerly. She has been a Harvard Visiting Scholar, and a Visiting Fellow at Sophia University, Tokyo. Cassandra has published eight books, most recently the three-volume Sketch Notes. She has a Creative Victoria grant to write a prose poetry graphic novel on the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. More by Cassandra Atherton Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places. If you like this piece, or support Overland’s work in general, please subscribe or donate. Related articles & Essays First published in Overland Issue 228 11 November 202211 November 2022 Main Posts On the last day of Subscriberthon, our amazing online editor gives you one last (very good) reason to subscribe Editorial team What's in store for the last day of Subscriberthon? First published in Overland Issue 228 10 November 202210 November 2022 Main Posts On the second-last day of Subscriberthon, our favourite editor-duo give you reason #1002 to subscribe to Overland Editorial team What's in store for the second-last day of Subscriberthon?