She said suicide, she knew, was part of my biography.
She called what I did a storm, even greater than mine,
she said. I quickly fell in love with her
before I knew what to say, I who could do nothing,
we lived at least one ocean away, and that only
I prepared myself for the worst, hearing I was loved
and turned off the road abruptly, and she told me
what she said as I began writing this latest chapter
in my dissolving life. I swerved and saved the lot of us.
The children worried they would be left alone forever.
I wrote a song in commemoration of our brush with zero
where wolves called to one another across the dark,
vacant land. She said if I would go for gas, she’d stay.
I walked a mile one way to the bar with a gas pump
and left my wristwatch as collateral for the gas can.
Hearing the wolves howl going and coming
you have to admire their unreserved loneliness.
She welcomed me back. Her dress lifted,
she lay back in the ‘64 Healey’s passenger seat.
I returned the can, retrieved my watch, went on
with the top up, rain starting to sprinkle on the way.
She drove from there to the river. The ferry
transported us to the other side. Coins on your eyes,
I quipped and we both laughed to pass the time . . .
Later on she went away and said she was gone for good,
I’m not coming back. I lay on our bed and stared
out the window, the same view of lights
as in Seattle, in Ward Seven.
In this wheat town across country from that city,
I contemplated suicide. I thought how once my life
turned on a wheel I named
I felt dead already.
The voice of the one who followed Rebecca woke me.
I had said Rebecca’s name in my sleep.
Paula left for good. After a year,
I was on the verge of departure.
She came back one night to say goodbye.
She lay on the bed with me, insisting we keep her clothes on.
We slept. In the morning she left, I followed and was gone.
I forgot the condition of wolves.
The ferry emptied, the pure, smiling ones
leaving first, down death’s descending scale.
When they reached me I said, I have no preference.
The man with the pole spoke: You should have known
long ago you were leaving and where you were going.
You learned to love and drove away the only woman
who loved you for no reason except she believed you.
Where you’re going love and trust have no importance.
(16, 17, 25 April 2012)
copyright 2012 by Floyce Alexander