I called you. We nibbled pickled
herring after fucking. I found
words to embody what happened:
your long legs with blonde hair between,
nipples toes and fingers you painted pink,
lips so supple they kissed me all over.
You said, “I promised myself I would not
be here lying naked with you
inside me.” I was writing this poem.
You had to teach your kids in the morning.
You were home when your bus arrived.
I recorded what happened and would come.
I met you through a friend who said I should.
He said your name. I went over
and kissed you. “You are a dangerous man,”
you said, “I knew another bear
whose winter with me would come to nothing.”
Our friend left and you left with me.
You read my book you called “your bottomless
dream,” as though two covers could hold
more than its pages would become,
I was still so young. In winter,
the fire blazed. We slept on one sheet
stained with love’s glorious juices.
We met at the Quicksilver Bar in town,
drank and ate, then hurried back to my bed.
With roads icy, Cathleen lived in Springfield.
One night in Northampton you sat with me,
wet lips on my neck, whispering soft words
in one ear, nudging me, “Let’s go.”
We left. I wrecked the car and went to jail,
next day pleading nolo contendere,
the judge footnoting, “Agnew’s plea.”
I hitched out of town, called you from Boston.
Your father the president of Springfield
College, I feared I would marry a job.
That was our affair, all of it.
I was going nowhere with Cathleen here
or there, or anywhere we were alive
now, or ever. The swans folded their wings.
I took the hand whose legendary voice,
Leda’s–my Cathleen’s–whispered, “That was sad.”
(13 January 2013)
copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander