Wednesday, February 29, 2012

End of the Weekend

So much did he dread returning tonight
he started a fight before she drove him
back to the ward. He resurrected the word fame.
For him the hole cards might never turn up.
Even the deck could be gutted:
jacks and queens but kings and aces nowhere,
and one too many jokers to foul any hand:
those standing pat, those going for broke.
I love you believing in me, he said,
please don’t put the curse of failure on me.

She didn’t get it and said so.
He snapped, You know how far I have to go
to learn to read "Graves at Mukilteo,"
their headstones. I work my ass off, Lovely,
and all I have to show is a rag hand
of clubs, hearts, diamonds, and spades,
completely worthless, but who in this place
at the table knows when or what to bid . . .
Not Danny St. Clair,
who died holding a losing hand.

In "A Guide to Dungeness Spit" my first teacher
celebrates this singular place
with ships, lovers, and mountains. No, Lovely,
I can’t recite it.
I may never comprehend the beauty
you seek in peaks and rivers.
Teach me, take me there, show me all you love.
I know nothing but this city,
and then only streets where no flowers grow
that are not condemned.

(26 February 2012)

copyright 2012 by Floyce Alexander

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