these hours are his. Nights he’s with Cristina, to make a baby,
she no longer says, she wants him to want the baby too.
By noon he’s dreaming in La Iglesia de La Puta.
At six he meets Cristina before her shift begins. They dine
for an hour before she leaves to don her working uniform.
He stays for a cup of coffee. Paula arrives, kisses
his brow. Not his lips now. She cannot stop to talk,
Tony’s already here, playing intros to Lady Be Good,
Ain’t Nobody’s Business, and her signature, Angel Eyes.
Cristina says late one night, I see you’re friends with your wife.
She’s not my wife, he replies, we work the crowd together now,
and smiles feeling like Humpty Dumpty having taken a fall.
Or so he imagines Alice’s Egg Man would feel, if feel he could.
Thus Bobby rose, attending Cristina’s needs of their moment.
If you were looking through their third-story walk-up window,
you might wonder why he said a word with such pulchritude
filling the space he could not fill himself. Wonder on, but you
didn’t have to be here to see who Bobby loves. Or did you?
Did nobody care about love with so much money in America?
What of music? Words? Images? Who could say, clinging to walls
that would collapse with merely a shift of tectonic plates . . .
You climb down, you who thought love’s everywhere
America is. That’s why men and women do what they do.
Don’t tell me there’s no money in love, Bobby likes to muse.
I loved two who loved for money. Maybe that makes me a whore.
Cristina is not one. Nor was . . . he ticks off all the names
of those he knew who loved for money. They are not many.
He should worry if loving two makes him a pimp? He knows
by noon he will be on the job, in La Puta, dreaming.
(27 January 2013)
copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander