I knew I was going to miss her. Her fine way of giving and taking,
her needs and mine, what did it matter once one of us was dead . . .
Nobody believed in the afterlife anymore, if they ever had.
But Adore believed in something more than this world.
Maybe that was what I would miss most, her loas.
She said, Johnny, they’re yours now, I brought them to you
and you took them on, and Mister Questionmark was there
to make sure you knew what you had asked for,
what you were saddled with now that they could ride you
for a reason. That made her laugh. Reason! Reason? What reason
could lead any man or woman to the other world to stay? . . .
That was the price, she said, you were never free to do what they,
the loas, would object to . . . and they knew, they were like God
for the Christians, only they did what only a priest verified,
was trained to do. When I dream now I know where I am:
No more surreal awakenings–what was I doing there, how did
it go, why does the plot always disappear when it never was there
at all . . . Adore said, I wear my hair short, I don’t paint my nails,
there’s no one else to please, I want what I have to be more
and it will be if I let it alone. If I give myself my self . . .
I wanted to be there, New Orleans, and here, San Francisco,
both places, now . . . She had twenty years on me, on Cathleen,
and the rest of my soul’s memory, what of all that now that life
was where you were and not where you thought you’d like to be . . .
You want to live fully, now that you’re getting closer to dying.
Cathleen was there, waiting. The flight arrived on time.
In the old days we would have rushed to have a drink, doing
what happened to strike our fancy on the way there and after . . .
She said, I want a cat, I said Sure, but where will the cat live?
She said, You can have a dog and live in Lagunitas,
I’ll stay on California Street and keep my cat happy.
Pussy or tom? I asked. She laughed. It doesn’t matter, honey,
as long as he or she sleeps with me and expects nothing else.
And what about me? said I. You can fuck me for a change,
said she–the perfect note with which to welcome me home.
(23 April 2011)
copyright 2011 by Floyce Alexander