So much is unknown. That’s how he likes it. Her too . . .
Who says? She kisses him, hands balancing her waist,
fingers brushing the breasts she complains are too large,
but not now. DG and Myra pay close heed.
The J.P. is glad, he says, to see a couple
bring their friends to give them away.
Bobby says, I’m lucky in every place I am.
Paula takes the flowers the J.P.’s wife hand her;
they’re part of the financial arrangement.
Bobby knows he was high, Paula too, DG passed
one joint then another all the way across state.
They sat on a bluff overlooking the lake.
Bobby recalled to himself being here
five years ago watching the hydroplane races
with Cathleen and his friend John Friel,
a painter living hand to mouth in L.A.
The three drank then what these four drink now,
but with not a single stick of what Doug
mischievously called tea. Paula took Bobby to bed
and next morning they sealed their vows.
Myra drove most of the way home. Started at dawn,
home by late afternoon, wet from no air conditioner.
Doug played tapes. Most were with Monk on piano, horn
courtesy of DG, as you’d expect. All the way,
Bobby’s kisses covering Paula in the back seat,
hands sliding along skin, laughing together out of joy
they shared. Then Moses Lake, dusty and barren.
Filled up with gas. Ellensburg, where they ate,
was filled with farmers. In a late-lunch coffee shop,
farmers sat hovering over their hootch. They must bring
their own, Bobby said. Where do they think they are,
Oklahoma? Doug said maybe the laws were the same,
buy a bottle at the liquor store next door,
bring in your own booze and buy it back
drink by drink from the waitress: trays full of glasses.
If Bobby didn’t stroke her yielding flesh each hour,
Paula kissed his lips with hers. Nothing else
was so important as tasting her love
where they cavorted, the back seat now full.
Myra let Doug sleep; then he took over
at Snoqualmie. No snow here’s very nice,
the back seat agreed with the front,
no questions asked, no encores, nothing but sweet love.
By the time they reached the Floating Bridge
and turned off to take the drive looping down
and around, past Rebecca’s place
where Bobby had lived with her married
before the drowning, he felt finally at home.
He didn’t want to look at the house, but why not
exorcise what was more painful to remember?
(9, 27 June 2012)
copyright 2012 by Floyce Alexander