He said, I’m beginning to see the problem. We are miscast in these roles.
She replied, It was your idea, you courted me without a letup.
He said, I couldn’t help myself. You were more beautiful than any woman should be.
She replied, I have no reason to contradict you, but you have too much confidence.
He asked, In what?
She replied, In me.
I walk it off. The cold sieves through long underwear. Bad trip for a Southern boy reared in a valley between mountains. Just couldn’t get past temptations to live in Massachusetts, northern Minnesota. He sees the day exhale, what will the night be like without the sun? Some years you can see Aurora Borealis nakedly etched against the sky and what can you do but stare? She has no time for you. The moon has closed the door, he loves his taste of rainbow, it’s all he craves, he has no need for northern lights, he knows better, Aurora is a woman and by God he could love her.
I become someone else. It’s ideal evasion. Better than labor. No need to sweat, the work is even sedentary.
So what do you think, sweet? Are your questions formed? Do you want to take the time to talk?
I don’t know, I hesitate to risk so much . . .
Who am I now? A chickadee at the bird feeder? A blue jay in the tree, waiting? The woodpecker so huge it needs a name no one knows where it came from, it sounds manufactured . . . pileated.
I was someone else. I kept seeing in my mind the way I should follow the curves going up the mountain, or was it simply the treacherous way uphill from town?
There were so many words. They all needed to be said. I couldn’t speak anything but poetry
:Not in those days. She was too sweet to stay so long. I had many opportunities. She said so.
Let it all go in the winter wind. Learn to walk on ice again.
I have no need to play this out, what I feel in a shudder with you is a body of knowledge. I call it love. I won’t guess what you would say.
The world is frozen around me. Or was. The wilderness is worse. But I hate small towns.
There were the same little turns, they never changed unless the county commission called change necessary, which it never was, there were so many other things that might have been proposed.
What’s the play? Long Day’s Journey into Night? Krapp’s Last Tape? The Homecoming?
I’ll write my own, he said. And I will write mine, she replied.
(7 December 2011)
copyright 2011 by Floyce Alexander