Saturday, April 14, 2012
I have seen what I have seen.
I don’t imagine there is anything to imagine now,
we have seen it all,
so we think.
And we remember nothing.
Bobby sees his father throw in his last hand and lose his life,
not long after word
of Henrietta . . .
He drinks straight from the bottle, furious, cool on the outside.
Don’t mix business with pleasure, a friend said. Danny loved Bushmill . . .
Why go on?
It was the same friend avenged his death, whose heart gave out in stir.
Always say goodbye.
He took me out to the tracks where I saw the train’s gnarled remains,
to be seen. I remember what there was to see no one saw.
Christina took me to the wake. My older sister, I thought.
But not old enough.
Why go on?
She’s not old enough to be my mother. She is my lover.
She rolls her long hair into a bun, lifting her arms, her breasts.
Plucking bobby pins
with one hand,
the other holding her hair in place, her body still naked.
I ask her what now? She takes the last pin from between her lips
and turns with both eyes
There’s nothing more to be done, Bobby, than what we did last night.
I leave to buy a bottle of Jameson. No more Bushmill
he’s dead for sure. But Henrietta? She died in no one’s arms
if she is dead . . . Why wouldn’t she be dead? She never came back.
Christina paid dear
to love him.
More than once before last night, she said, Bobby, you’re just like him.
I have seen my father, I have seen my mother, my Christina
is not my father’s.
She loved him,
I know, but I grew to be a man in time to love her now.
We went to town, she bought me brunch, I told her this is the place
I last saw
Have what you want, I won't be here much longer, I love you, son . . .
I remember the sunbright day, the crowded streets, her warm hand
and we took the bus
north to the locks where ships came through once the water lifted them.
When Christina and I kissed goodbye on the street she went on,
I went home
to the bungalow
and fell asleep reading the Cantos, book open where it lay.
(7, 14 April 2012)
copyright 2012 by Floyce Alexander