His Perfect Other

Ophelia by Odilion Redon

She appears to him everywhere
in frozen snapshots of time.
Freeze frame gestures
capture her stoic form,
thin lips rounded into cherries
ripe enough to pluck.
Her neutral expression
stands unconcerned
her utter disregard for him
hanging beneath the surface
of his mother’s birdbath.
Her black hair, an act at play
against smooth alabaster skin.

He reaches out to touch her cheek
and like the reflection of the fox’s grapes,
she disappears.
He’s left with a handful of water-laden butterfly wings
and an intense desire to encapsulate her.
His perfect other.

Brenda Warren 2012

The photo at The Mag inspired The Sunday Whirl words to form an obsession. I think the narrator is a serial killer, but who knows? Visit The Mag and The Sunday Whirl both for some fabulous Sunday writing. You’ll be glad that you did.

53 thoughts on “His Perfect Other

  1. FantasticBrenda ! , reminds me of a Paul Kelly song, “Everythings turning to white ” , about some fishermen who find a girl floating in a freezing river.


  2. As I read (prior to your reference to the serial killer) I felt a creepiness about this guy that I kept waiting for something to happen. You left the ending open enough and unfulfilled that we can take the character wherever our minds can imagine.

    I’ve read enough novels of the psychological-predator sort that I could easily imagine this person as someone who, in the quest for his perfect other, leaves drowned butterfly wings in his wake.

    Well-done, Brenda.


    • Okay, I can see that. Thank you, Cathy. I’m impulsive, and blurt out the first thing that I see. Now that some time has passed…serial killer is less likely. ha! I like your idea….but he still creeps me out just a little.


    • Gorgeous:
      “Her black hair, an act at play
      against smooth alabaster skin”

      And this:
      “He’s left with a handful of water-laden butterfly wings
      and an intense desire to encapsulate her”


  3. This is so nice, Brenda! I’m amazed at how similar our themes and images are, without any clairvoyance or collaboration! It’s the Wordle, of course; or great minds? Anyway, I enjoyed this poem.


  4. Oh dear, a serial killer? You did have to throw that in just to confuse us readers! Excellent use of the wordle words, which I have found quite a challenge this week.


  5. Wow – I did not get serial killer from the narrator – obsessive, intense, yes, but I read it as his “other” existing purely a figment his imagination. But ambiguity is a good thing in poetry. The writing is very strong here, Brenda. Great imagery and tone.


  6. Ok, now I get the recurring picture! Your header photo is incredible. Love the reference to Aesop’s fable, and ‘his mother’s birdbath’….very enjoyable


    • The Mag is a great Sunday prompt site. I usually write a piece for each, but this week The Whirl words wouldn’t gel into anything at all. Then, Tess provided this picture at The Mag, and the piece whirled together. 🙂

      Thank you for joining us 4joy. It’s nice to have you along for the ride.


  7. I’m haunted by “water-laden butterfly wings” – such a sad image. I know it means he didn’t get her, she wasn’t really there, but that image of drowned flight leaves me wondering if she really got away. Even if she’s just caught in his twisted imagination.



  8. My first thought was the death of a young wife…but could have been at his own hands! And could be he wants more… Full of intrigue and mystery and illusive folk tales. Lovely wordle!

    Thanks for your visit and kind words. I’m sure being a second wife was not an easy thing. For a time my grandmother lived with grandfather and his son from his first wife and that son’s wife…I always did wonder how they got along. In the end not as well as they could have as the Son never really took to his step-mother, and their was a nasty battle when my grandfather passed as to who deserved what – the son or the living wife.


  9. I wouldn’t have thought a serial killer. I would have thought a man whose love left him, but he can’t get beyond thoughts of her and obsessively ‘sees’ her everywhere. I was going to say you found a perfect picture for your poem, but then I saw it was also a ‘mag’ write, so that explains it. Well wordled.


    • Your interpretation is exactly how I read it, Mary. So the serial killer was a shock to me. I must accept that Brenda knows what she intended, but I prefer the lost lover story!


  10. A serial killer… Oooooo… Some wonderful imagery all through this Brenda.
    ‘Her black hair, an act at play’
    ‘He reaches out to touch her cheek
    and like the reflection of the fox’s grapes,
    she disappears.’
    Really fabulous lines. 🙂 A great read, thanks.


  11. “reflection of the fox’s grapes”

    Not even actual grapes, for goodness’ sake, but just the reflection. How elusive—and how utterly intriguing and mystifying! What a way to begin Sunday morning! 🙂

    An Irish Whirl


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