Susanna loved living in Seattle.
Juan could remember that city with pleasure.
He did not care for the drizzle but slept
very well when rain fell so you could hear.
He did not like cities where the wind blew.
He decided to go back to driving
and got his car out of storage and drove.
He wanted to be free of everything.
Where did he go? It never would matter
where, he knew why his heart was breaking fast
like the stampeding of the wild horses
when he held on tight and ran them to ground . . .
He had been in the house on Summer Street
alone, back from his usual night’s work,
stopping to stand in the doorway to hear
portions of a midnight mass. When a man
on the other side of the door offered
a seat in the pews, he shook his head no.
The town was too small. He needed cities.
New England would never be home country,
When they were not in church they were all stern
in their judgments of his brash way of life.
All of them, even the cajoling ones,
Yankee bred to the bone, their skin like hide
of a rhino, or gator. He went home,
started the fire and drank from a bottle
and was warming up when the horses broke
his way. Was that before Carlos went off
to the gorge, or after? He had lost sight
more than once of the crucial way to live,
remembering what you loved, why, and how
you lost track, lost the trail, had to walk out
all the way to reach civilization
or whatever it was called where he sat
still. Where he felt safe from the horses’ hooves.
He was driving up river to Natchez.
Or was it Vicksburg where he was going?
He felt free, that was the important thing.
He might never be happier than now.
He thought of all he had not done thus far
and then of what he had done to love her . . .
turning west to make the loop south, and home.
(14 February 2011)
copyright 2011 by Floyce Alexander