Old endgame lost of old, play and lose and have done with losing. Beckett, Endgame
To see her die was spared me.
When she first saw me, the day
she came home, sitting on the bed,
I looked in, she filled her eyes
with a hundred pounds of joy,
or so I read them. She slept there
before the others jousted with her
for place. She lost. There were
too many. Why go on but to say
how she loved the whipped cream
Karen Lee served with desserts
and waited until she was called,
then indulged herself on the floor.
Long ago she had given birth
after those who brought her in
to town and left her in the snow
with ice one night and drove off.
I called her Little French Whore,
Karen Lee saw her in bobby sox
sipping sodas at the city fountain.
The day after the doctor called
to say she had passed away
last night, we took the other eight
I recalled the leukemia
my friend’s young daughter had
in Berkeley. A stack of pages
on the table, beer on the veranda,
and after she died long fights
over who was blaming the other
for her young life gone, not theirs,
but lasted out the storm of nerves
and lived again in New Orleans
where his brain gave up poetry
and she went back to the church.
She went to where her son was,
the next and only other born.
She was there when Katrina
spilled over back home, she said,
like wearing out a welcome.
There are birds
more common than Audubon’s.
There are other cats, Ophelia’s,
Shakespeare knew nothing of.
Prospero is back in Milan
with Caliban, his bane.
Hamm and Clov look out
and see what they feel.
Oliver, Ali, Pedro . . .
three Tolstoys, two Rostovs.
Eight are left to live
out all Socrates, Miranda
will miss now.
See that one? Crouch
and scrunch up back feet,
but the window won’t give,
don’t leap. The eyes spring.
There’s another, get ready.
World outside: CAT TV.
In here life ends, grief begins.
(25 May 2011)
copyright 2011 by Floyce Alexander