Saturday, December 18, 2010

Seven Stories


In the city
they wrap you
in their white
wings and fly:

From here
the red light
the night black.

They carry
you where
you sleep
to dream

but you know
elevators because
this was the second

the first in the city
your friend asking
you never answer

now on the edge
of the lake,
football stadium;
above, seven stories

about to be told.
How I kicked
across the highway,

how I rode the horse
my friend led
to Grandma’s house
giving me the bridle,

the horse weaving
its hooves between
the persimmons
all the way to town–

creak of the saddle,
smell of leather
the horse also heard,
no doubt smelled,

and that is only one
story, six more to go
but that’s all for today,
the one with white wings

says, ascending.
I keep on with the story
telling to myself
looking out the window

wired for safety
between the patchwork
to find a horse to ride
on the earth, and make it

to the country
where I was born,
my gift tethered
and fed and stalled

for one night
so another day is
another story
and then five

to go, the girls growing
to be women and I
approaching manhood

the very long sixth
story, followed by
mine own Damascus . . ,
how so like a blackguard

caught in flagrante delicto,
as my city friend says
though he refers to
something not a crime . . .

that leads to this fourth story,
where I am, where
birds are called elevators
paths sidewalks, trees temples

or skyscrapers or simply
buildings where denizens
buy and sell and see how
they wear their skins . . .

and after that, the third story
I already know by heart,
it is my heart
or was then,

before and after red hair,
sailor’s walk, Manuela Roma,
whereupon Irish Cathleen
returned, she said, to stay

and that begins
the penultimate story
still to be lived or written,
I don’t know which, . . .

if ever I may love my gamine
until finally I I die happy
and go on loving all
my world’s seven wonders.

(14 December 2010)

copyright 2010 by Floyce Alexander

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