Friday, May 20, 2011

Becoming Irish

Battle-scarred veteran of the sexual wars . . .
You’d never know if you did not see her
naked. She dresses always in fashion.
Her face is perfect and always was, how else
lure men into thinking she was seduced . . .
Her mother taught and like some friends
lost her job caught drinking with Jack
off-duty in his car and was fired, as was he.
No longer schoolteacher or big city cop,
they went on for years yet put up in motels
instead of his black Buick four-door easy
for his crippled wife to get in and out of . . .
She recalls her mother worked for a time
near downtown in a home for wayward girls
–no wonder Cathleen became Irish Cathleen

when I lived alone all those years, penned up
my nerves like wild things only I could tame
and saw her when she was free, not on call.
All the scars, as I say, are under her clothes.
I see them easily but she never gives away
what men once paid her for. How could I,
negligent husband working for a future,
have dared believe she would do more
in our old age than see to it I stay alive?

Juan–I mean Johnny–was going to write
another passage already lived by Adore,
when Judy’s appearance in her altogether
followed him home and here, behind a door
without a doorbell and therefore not on call,
she worked her way inside his head and I
saw for myself all there was to see, ever . . .
Of course if I were Johnny, or Juan, I’d
beat it back now to see if her peacocks preen
while she entertains a man for nothing more
than what he may bring to her table if, that
is, he happens to be more gentleman than me,
by whom I mean Senor Flores, Mister Flowers,
and waiting he can listen to the river . . .

For dessert Judy Ewing is always herself.
She knows no other culinary art but loving.
Let’s go out and sit naked on the deck now,
she says. He follows. He was always struck
by the way women did whatever he wanted
as long as he stayed with them and alone . . .

(20 May 2011)

copyright 2011 by Floyce Alexander

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