After all the wind, after the city
falling, standing still, its separate parts
maintained intact by the city fathers,
falling of their own weight down to their knees
to be forgiven and apportion blame
to the higher ups, the bastards in charge,
they said, asking forgiveness for their sins
if sins they were . . . Only the people knew
to blame was not to heal, they pray to die
as lucky as they were to find their love
in time, their sweet bodies aging slowly
because they know nothing so well as love,
caressing, kissing, fucking, annealing . . .
and Juan wakes next day to call Chicago.
I do not need to tell you why you know
most what was not said and never will be . . .
She wants to know how he is. He tells her.
He asks about her. She too tells him
all he asks. Then he asks her to marry.
He had expected her to laugh, but no,
. . . you can imagine her answer and weep
for him. You done chose your company, pal.
He fiddles with the phone, twisting the cord
around the receiver as he goes on
listening. Adore comes in. Her rocker
begins to rock with her body in it,
smoking her cigarillo, inhaling
then expelling all she inhaled in time
with the sound of her chair with her in it,
Maria Teresa telling him why
she is staying home. She can never go
where she would feel a fear of being all
she was, keep part of yourself under wraps
to stay what you are inside and be where
all those you love and love you want you
. . . and he wanted to take back what he said.
He said more. A hush. Stunned, nothing said now
–the click, dial tone, Adore kept rocking.
As he set receiver in its cradle,
Adore asked what he would do with his day,
he didn’t know, but he knew he would write
whatever she could find to talk about.
Honey, she said, you don’t need to stay home,
go out, roam, get your heart to beating fast
but not too fast, use your cane, walk slowly
but know where you want to go and get there
before the witches find you out and spell
your name in the street, Juan, and put a spell
there where the weirds want you to hesitate
and fall. They come out of nowhere, honey.
Use your cane. Beat them down. Wipe the air clean
and keep on going where you were heading.
Stay out of the water. Alligator
took a man down one day, I saw him slip
and splash, a tail thrashing up foam, the man
gone for good, I mean ill . . . Go now and sin.
(30 January 2011)
copyright 2011 by Floyce Alexander