Saturday, November 3, 2012

Abraham and Drusilla


Abe was first to sidle up to her and look her over.
Drusilla let him. She didn’t need no man, but why not
tell him when he asked her name, why not ask him for his name?

They made love many times before they married. The first born,
Jess, was already inside her. She told him, Abe rejoiced.
That’s what perplexed my father: he couldn’t understand why

they either loved or fought, there seemed no in between, no peace.
They married, Jess was born, she drove Abe away, he came
home, she was happy, they made another baby . . . why leave?

Why she drove him off only Eunice, her only daughter
thought she knew. She and Ernest were twins, the last to be born
before Abe left for the last time. My father asked Eunice,

Drusilla’s only ally in the war (Eunice called it).
Eunice was jealous of her brothers and did not like men,
my father said, and told him that straight out the day he asked.

Drusilla gave birth six times before Abe was shot and killed
by the three intent on raiding the house in Sallisaw
Abe was entrusted to take care of and tried to keep his word.


The first time Abe took her to the mining camp she made love
slowly, and never changed. She had a way with tenderness.
He had a hunger she thought only she could satisfy.

Most other times he went to where she lived, Doll and Jeff’s,
her aunt and uncle who turned out to be her family.
When her mother died with her stillborn son, her father left

and she never saw him thereafter. Someone later said
they’d seen Frank, he was somewhere in Texas by then, he had
another family and would no longer say Pearl’s name

nor Drusilla’s, or Jeff and Doll’s, much less their son Tom Clifft’s,
and whoever it was told the story let it be known
he didn’t want any goddammed more to do with Frank Clifft.

They would wait till Jeff and Doll and Drusilla’s cousin Tom
were asleep. Drusilla let Abe undress, then undress her.
While he was moving inside her she thought about a child

she was sure would give them happiness. Neither of them knew
what the word meant, she thought it was what Pearl had with Manuel
Romain, but she was too young then to remember the word.

She knew she loved to do with him what he said love was called,
fucking, and knew what that felt like and she loved to feel it.
Her body would never be the same without his caress,

his opening her and going inside and when their flesh
was joined started moving, first slowly, then quickened the pace,
accelerating like having found a road only they

traveled, then he eased off and her rose burst into full bloom.
The fall into serenity. That was called happiness.
Why was he her first? He said she was his. What did that mean?

(II: 3 November 2012)

copyright 2012 by Floyce Alexander

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