Anna and Paul invited Bobby to stay at their house for the weekend.
He left the ward mid-afternoon Friday, due back Sunday night.
Lovely, who said over and over to him, My name is Melindra,
gave him her number and said she’d be free Saturday night.
He phoned her and called her Lovely. She chuckled in reply
and asked if he could come for dinner. He could stay the night.
She would drive him back, she had to work Sunday graveyard shift.
Anna and Paul drove him to her two-story house on a dead-end street.
Treat me like this, he said early Sunday, and I’ll stay in Seattle forever.
She said, OK, but you must become a famous poet or novelist . . . or teach.
She had to keep the name Melindra, nobody would remember Lovely.
He kept calling her Lovely and she kept matches ready to light him up.
She was nine years older. He was old enough, she said, A perfect age.
She loved the poem "Graves at Mukilteo" and recited it by heart.
She drove him out there so he could see where Hugo’s poem came from.
All poems came from somewhere. Richard Hugo worked for Boeing.
Bobby could tend bar. She didn’t care what he did if he learned from it.
She took him back to bed in the middle of the afternoon. They loved
loving. They were going too fast, she said. It was too dangerous
on the switchbacks, she preferred the straightaway Kansas-style.
(7 February 2012)
copyright 2012 by Floyce Alexander