Stephanie lived across the plaza
with her two sons.
Gwen Sun, who lived next door,
pointed to her, said
we grow hornier as we grow older.
Stephanie recalled Sandy years before
in L.A.; a tryst that went nowhere,
I was that innocent.
Gwen said in her Taiwan way,
You don’t have to marry her!
We chortled. She knew being married
and having one daughter
didn’t mean she couldn’t fool around
in secret. I had dreamed the name
Gwen Sun next day emblazoned
in characters I could read in the dream.
I wrote all night once the phone shut up.
I was married, but few knew
she didn’t live with me now.
Even so, we had known
each other so long
she came around all the time.
She said she loved me still
even though she was fucking another.
I was tossing a salad one night
when Stephanie came by to say
she’d locked herself out
and hoped the manager had a key.
Come back and share some salad,
I said. She went to her place
and soon brought back the key.
I was watching TV:
A Star Is Born,
Barbra Streisand, Kris Kristofferson
in the remake of remakes,
where the guy’s the star at the start
and in the end she’s the star
and he’s a has-been.
Years before in Seattle we saw it
in a theater and never forgot.
Stephanie put her legs up
stretching her short shorts,
blonde (all over?) with nails painted red;
I, always a sucker for such womanly flair,
Albuquerque by now evolved from L.A.–
but saying her sons had been awake
when she left, she got up to go,
and I said, Come back some time.
Not long after I heard the daytime
maintenance man stayed the night with her.
My, my, how a body does get around . . .
And whose busybody business was it?
Or did the gent crow like a fighting cock?
But why not trust
the blessings of love had returned to her life:
The lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne, . . .
(6 October 2010)