Maria Teresa wrote to say she loved him still.
And Irish Cathleen sent him a reply
to a letter he wrote to her.
He already knew where Paula was,
married and happy, but he did worry,
it was so hard to keep on going straight
when you still loved the unexpected thing
happening to you. And Betty was fine,
he guessed, married last he heard, so OK,
between Chicago and San Francisco
and Portland and New Orleans
he chose the place where nothing worked
as well as before Katrina.
A woman in Russia named Katrina
wished him love and a long life too . . .
Betsy loved him every way to Sunday.
He missed Adore, her body’s velvet skin.
When Betsy went back to work Juan returned.
Adore happened to be there. She had time,
she said, to let him know what had happened.
He told her, I’m not sure I want to know . . .
When she smiled she glowed. She said, Come to bed.
Nothing could dissuade her, nor him.
The spark that lay in ashes rekindled
as though they’d been hauled, and they had,
and Adore didn’t need to know, she told
herself. When they were through she told him this;
She’d been treating the same man who walked by
that day the loa found and mounted Juan . . .
You know, the old guy with the questionmark
his body made . . . he was younger than that,
young as you, Juan, maybe even younger
where the blood flows like a river through flesh,
and I never stopped loving him ever,
he came to me, said he needed curing,
I cured him all right . . .
Juan told her about Chicago,
he told her about San Francisco too,
and she told him he ought to get away . . .
if it was her, she said, she would go west . . .
Get out of town and let yourself go
(21 March 2011)
copyright 2011 by Floyce Alexander