Thursday, January 5, 2012

Emily and Jim

Who knows secrets except in retrospect
consigns their knowledge to oblivion,
even when secrets are no longer secret.
Everyone knew after it happened
why it happened.

She told him she was carrying his child.
In the letter her hand made words perfect
in the cursive the nuns taught.
Her English left out
words unnecessary in Spanish.

He left immediately, drove all night,
gassed up, kept going, bent
upon being with her.
No matter he was AWOL, he loved her
with his whole soul.

She heard the news a day later.
She sobbed in the house, on the street,
in the doctor’s office, and the long hours
grew longer.
One priest, then another, warned her, Keep it!

Irene stayed by her, night and day.
She said Emily would harm herself
if left alone.
After the burial she miscarried.
There would be no consolation.

These words are bones once blessed with flesh.
Two lives lost to the beloved,
who, God knows, would love again, if God
was the God priests asked
us to bow our heads to ask His blessing.

In mass Irene and I prayed our bodies be one.
We made love to make it so.
And where did love go
when I went to the city to learn a trade
to which I proved unsuited . . .

(5 January 2012)

copyright 2012 by Floyce Alexander

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