He walks through wind and rain to Bourbon,
takes a side trip to the house of Patsy Rose
next door to The Saloon. He needs to dry out,
he needs her thick red hair and her long red
fingertips to read his cards. Where am I
going, what must I do to keep going . . .
She calls him Johnny. She knows the story.
She takes him in, shucks his wet clothes,
towels his body, brings him a big robe,
says it was her man’s, the one who left her
alone. She’s already said one’s enough.
He looks out at the trees in the courtyard.
There are two. He knows the story. Her man
looked after them with diligence,
determined to love what was not human,
she said he said and she loved him for it.
She missed him. Will you love me, Johnny Boy?
he fantasized, her black eyes entangled
with his brown eyes, she and Adore two trees
he too might care for. Her reading echoed
the one that came before California,
The Fool in The World. And she remembered:
Something essential has been left undone,
but now The World is covered by The Fool.
Last time The World was on top of The Fool.
Both times in the middle were The Lovers.
She said this reading left out The Devil,
He or She was there, between The Lovers,
Patsy Rose said: You can’t have a future
until you have settled up with the past.
(15 August 2011)
copyright 2011 by Floyce Alexander