You wonder what it would be like to have a lifelong love.
That’s a question I never fail to ask.
I ask the walls, I ask the flowers, I ask the centaur,
that horse in my legs that won’t talk back
but brandish the flesh-bone that fills with blood
when she comes near with her painted body–
red for the nails, rose from brow to toe, black for her Irish
that swept away from the first like a flood
this lame heart that knew nothing of its kin, only the rigor
youth hears after the heart falls down and can’t get up without her.
That is why it has been lifelong, this love,
The body failed another way at first,
but not the mind or fingers that write down
what that mind of mine ticker-tapes through its own Times Square of yore.
This is clever but thin. I am a wretch.
I whine. I bellow. I waver more than walk before I fall. I am more toil
than ever. She knows the fallout. I’ve even wept. Little good
does a wretch do with a witch of loving ju-ju in her sweep
through our unbeginning and never ending lope through eons–
or so it would seem to an ailing wretch–
"a wretch loves his wretchedness" the maestro
wrote–and I who am more window than door
always open the sky and let sun have its way with the wind
coursing through dying trees, wet grass, mud, flood.
Therefore, having fallen asleep by a stove in the country
after shoveling the open grate full of coal, I prepare
dreamwork for the day, and for me it’s work:
imagery, voices, memory, imagination . . . O fire,
where is thy flame!
(2–November--1 December 2010)
copyright 2010 by Floyce Alexander