She walks across the room never minding the waves
sloshing against the bow of her father’s ship.
Carol Steiner, sitting next to him, says, Bobby,
She’s beautiful! Bobby thinks Carol should know,
blonde imp of love’s corridors of R & R,
her man, Dave, home from Vietnam.
Paula disappears, Carol and Dave leave.
Bobby goes back to reading Hemingway,
The Sun Also Rises . . . for the nth time.
In the hubbub, scribbling marginalia,
underlining passages, erasing,
revising his own notations,
reading himself into 1925
Paris and Pamplona,
a year for the draft to bake in the sun
through the window he sees through
. . . and don’t you wish you could too?
No point in such comparison, Bobby,
he remands himself.
Better to accrue experience,
then engrave it in ink.
Sometimes you wait half your life, Roethke said
one day, Bobby sitting in the office
where the shambling poet with his tennis elbow
and bum knee entered,
calling to her who was once his paramour,
who told Bobby the course is closed:
Leota, this kid’s pretty good,
I want him in my Yeats seminar.
Leota: It’s full, Ted. And he: Make room,
my love! She blushed. Her gray hair dyed
silver lit her dark office,
her buxom body filling a shadow.
More than beautiful. A woman
in her late forties, early fifties, once
a scholar at the Sorbonne,
writing on Rimbaud, her very own poete maudit.
Bobby walked home, where Paula was, she skipped
class today to watch sailboats on the lake.
She missed her father’s cabin on Loon Lake.
Why they drove across the state to marry
in Idaho. She had hoped they could stay
in the cabin the night of their wedding,
but Bobby had a gig to do at New Congress.
Paula understood the world very well.
She could love this man and live her life.
She hoped he realized what she meant when she said,
I have a wild hair, Bobby, don’t underestimate me.
(12, 30 June 2012)
copyright 2012 by Floyce Alexander