. . . I can’t tell
if the day is ending, or the world,
or if the secret of secrets is in me again.
–from Jane Kenyon’s Anna Akhmatova
In a wondrous pall magicians appear
unexpectedly, clouds break up the snow,
sun follows rain and the magi long gone
with the manger, streets fill with donkeys’ breath,
sweepers following shepherds pacing curbs
guttering the streets to shield the living . . .
I am in New York City, she swears: Time
to write the next chapter of my lone heart.
If I brush her blonde lips, la abraza
con el abrazo, she shivers my heat,
Frances of our trembling assignation . . .
She is all I would have shudder my loins.
The mass ends. Celebrants depart. Priests fall
in lock step, inching forward to greet lines
of smiles with open palms, kissing women’s
cheeks overflowing with rose, nodding men
away, the long-robed ones hungry for flesh:
Men, go home alone . . . Beauty starves me lean.
You come home, your hymen having grown back
since your last excursion in the night world.
Even so, maidenhood is no answer
to the calm weather surrounding your life
written on the magic slate, then lifted
so I can learn more of your survival . . .
I am alone in the country, the streets
filling with no one but those so fearful
I will see them as they pass, my curtains
stay closed in a town whose people insist
no secrets survive . . . I, your last lover;
I, your valedictory enchantment.
(1 May 2011)
copyright 2011 by Floyce Alexander