He went by anyway, the kid asleep
on the day bed in the front room, snoring.
Juan went in the back door. She welcomed him
again. Afterward they lay on the bed
talking, mostly her but he asked questions
to keep her going. She loved to tell him
stories about her life and Ira’s too,
but never mentioned men whose names he did
not know, and never would now that his name
could be found among theirs, in her backroom
where all delight and mystery began
and if he didn’t watch out now would end . . .
She would worry she was too old for him,
he would run his fingers along her skin
then kissing what he was touching with what
you already know all you need to know.
But you’ve come this far. How could I refuse
to say how she loved to have him love her . . .
Wouldn’t I leaving out the story
of their coupling so strange to the real world
you find in Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Confessions
his chosen mother teaching him to love
by welcoming him to her bed, yet where
before Rousseau would such secrets be told?
You could make them up, but why? Ask Juan why
he can’t keep away from this widow’s bed.
He’ll tell you she knows how to love better
than any woman whose pleasure he had
enjoyed already in the days before
Adore: Irene Castenada, Betty,
Paula, Manuela Roma, Irish Cathleen . . .
all other names forgotten on the way
to Maria Teresa, whom he missed
more than he would say to her if he could:
you already know how the telephone
up river stalls and hangs up on a reef
and if she won’t come down here, why go there?
Like his mama, Juan loves New Orleans.
Maria Teresa says, Come to me . . .
Why leave Adore who can not only love
but wants him to know, to feel, to write her
life before she heard Ira's horn one night
and loved him as long as he stayed on earth . . .
Would you desert her? You would have to go
to a city other than Chicago,
somewhere you learned, even if the hard way
–getting lost–how to start over and find
the shortest way was never the way home . . .
(28 February 2011)
copyright 2011 by Floyce Alexander