This won’t take long, said he to himself, walking home,
where home was now, he knew, as long as he wanted
and rain began falling again and came down harder now.
He stood under a tree, what he was always warned about.
Mama’s cousin–was it?–was struck dead by lightning
that way, so what was he doing standing under a tree
letting it rain–he didn’t see lightning, hear thunder so
why not look at the river just past the house and listen
to the absence of peacock cries audible in good weather
and think about Judy Ewing and this old guy Hubbard
who was at least twenty, maybe thirty years older and so
was her grandfather’s age, if she had one, and what did
Hubbard have . . . Well, Juan had Cathleen, had her all
his life . . . and every time he tried to live on his own
she was there, in his head and on the phone, emailing him,
always in love with him for reasons he could never fathom.
. . . and he with her, he could not shake free of his mindset
and never wanted to, look how fine a woman she appeared
and knew she was inside out as well, no, he’s no less in love
with Cathleen now than when they met, alone on his houseboat
on Lake Union, Seattle, the year JFK was running for president
and they tried to live together a little later and JFK was shot
when she fled to Berkeley . . . he took Betty for wife, then Paula,
then Cathleen, then Manuela Roma, then Cathleen again,
only to part and return to Cathleen again and again and again,
though she insisted more than he they were "split-aparts"
never again splittable-apart now that she knew no matter what
might send them asunder over the distances and into the years
where now the rain let up and died before he was walking
away from the tree already having told himself, Basta!
(28 April 2011)
copyright 2011 by Floyce Alexander