I had stepped into the river because,
first, I wanted the rain to touch water,
to make me part of a coalescence
between sky and earth. And I had a song
when the rain was over; I sat long then
with the day hunting for its nightly feast,
which I called "Down the Line" and went like this:
‘I do love to slide my fingers along your leathery skin
and tongue your nipples one at a time full-to-burstin’
and write above your navel my name encircled with yours
and hold your hand leading you from rock to rock cross-
ing the stream’ at Lagunitas, her baby daughter quiet
when fingerpainting the bedroom, her teenage daughter
passing a joint, her son the oldest passing it on
to me, her lover in prison in Mexico, her peacocks
pacing the cage,
pero no hay amor en mi corazon, senora, ni hoy
ni manana ni nunca, senora, ni pasado manana . . .
got drunk ‘n’ tol’ em ‘bout Guatemala n damnear got
my fool hed shotoff in the woods there fuckinaround
with thosepeople who sed just split leaveusalone.
. . . Judy went inside, I stayed on the porch
waiting to see if anyone like me
came wading in water up to the waist
to feel the current now rain was over,
and no one, not even those unlike me,
came by, paused, looked up at the deck, saw me,
said nothing, Judy gone now, and walked on.
I got many facts about her all wrong.
How would . . . how could you know? Most likely, you,
discriminating reader, will not feel
implicated. Who cares what’s accurate
when there are stand-ins behind the curtain
getting undressed now that she is willing
to feed you and let you sleep and wake you
before this dream ends. If this is a film
it is all up to the editing room
to convert inertia into a pace
that crawls then rises to run like horses
or deer or wolves or bear, what you know well
and remember nothing else if not for
splicing one frame of film with another . . .
She opened the door and came out naked.
She invited me in, and I said no,
I needed to go back and see Cathleen.
She said Hubbard would not be home for days:
Why not come back and go to bed with me
when we are both free to shuck our armor . . .
Nor were the peacocks ever in a cage . . .
(19 May 2011)
copyright 2011 by Floyce Alexander