If you thought the night was going all wrong
the night what did go wrong was your doing,
if you thought the earth was a place to stand
the way you stood up to what went so sad . . .
Going down the street to get a bottle
and a pack of smokes, and coming back all
the street lamps were out, you struck a match
to see where to go, and walking keep watch
on the revelers, sloppy drunks and wives
too gone to care about their drunken lives.
Now you’re home it’s okay to breathe easy,
and drink a toast to the lady’s birthday.
If life were this easy, you had to be
crazy to want to go to Chicago,
if Adore wanted you to stay with her,
watch over her, be with her, care for her . . .
He called Maria again though he knew
it was no use being so black and blue
in a house where the gods would come and go
when Adore summoned them to her back door,
but Maria said what he didn’t blame
her for: I can’t marry you, we have love
but God knows neither of us have money,
and all I have is a hive of honey.
If what happened was over, why did years
have to pass before he lost the old fear,
If only he could have found her that night,
if only he had been blessed with such sight . . .
If only . . . sure, go back and do it all
over, and come up against the same wall.
Never marry for love, she said, the one
who wanted to be loved and left alone.
That’s what she wanted so he let her stay
where she was, and neither had to ask why.
That was Betty. This was his newfound love
saying good night after vowing her love.
Adore said, Juan, let’s have another drink
to keep on going until I’m ninety . . .
Honey, if you can’t keep it in the bank
all you can do is love her. Why marry?
(7 February 2011)
copyright 2011 by Floyce Alexander