Lean down to kiss me in your fancy shoes.
Take my legs, pick me up and set me down
before you undress and remove your shoes.
Lay your clothes across the bed’s wrought iron
stead. If there’s one thing I have it’s a bed.
Now come over here and give me some love.
She could remember those times of her life
once Ira was hers and she would be free
to live that dream she had once and again,
moving across that long wide room to him,
the valves on his horn barely moving now,
she was looking up into his dark eyes . . .
How could she tell her husband’s kin these things?
Juan had so many women he wanted
one more. He wasn’t any spring chicken,
or rooster, he might have time for one more,
any one named Maria Teresa
born and reared in Chicago, U.S.A. . . .
And why did he keep his shoes on that long,
Juan asked, was he a fancy man to boot . . .
She smiled putting away the clean dishes.
She looked at him a long time and said, No,
I could never do what my sisters did,
those like the girls you and your brother know.
When he left her house she would find a charm
fit for another spell, to bring back he
whose love kept her in touch with the old gods,
and while you’re at it, Erzulie, pick up
the one Juan loves and bring her here to stay,
then she gave the bones and ashes to her . . .
There Juan was paying in advance to keep
the room, looking through dark glasses at hands
holding the paper tight so he could scrawl
Paid to hold . . . his third time in HOT HOTEL
finding no one he knew or who knew him.
If his luck held that guy was history now.
She spread her best red and black bandana
on the table by the bed, stretched between
the orange glow of the burning candles,
kneeled down on one knee and then the other.
What she said only she would ever know
besides Erzulie, who listened closely . . .
When she was finished, she waited for it
to mount her and ride her and ecstasy
was no name for it, she didn’t know words
like that, she knew only the old feeling
between her and what it was rode inside
her, like she was what her prayer declared.
She prayed to Erzulie to bring him back
and he could have his horn and they could love
and put the house they could always live in
all back together or they could find one
where they could grow a wildflower garden,
peonies for Maria Teresa . . .
What was wild she would never tame. Why try
to tell the horses where to go or why,
let them ride, they were weary with burdens
their fleshly counterparts were forced to bear . . .
and among the begonias, dahlias,
bougainvillea, acacia, her words rode . . .
(13 February 2011)
copyright 2011 by Floyce Alexander