Earthly creatures die and there are no songs.
Your friends have written nothing that you were,
only words to evade your fiery core,
the life we could feel would come to nothing
a body finds in the grave or in fire,
the soul already gone north to grow wings.
I looked for your name in Sausalito,
where you changed Betty to Elizabeth,
an Irish surname to replace your own.
Four years you’ve been dead, I’ve stayed out of town
where the heralds of torpor were all loath
to dance or play another game of Go.
Your long hair was red, your pale skin freckled.
A god inside you and one within me
were mad. They fought. They were not the same god.
San Francisco to Mexico City,
then back: we put the lie to man and wife.
Who did not know divorce becomes mere grief?
In Mazatlan I stumbled from the sea,
brow scarred by a wave hurling my body
ashore. From there I watched the pelicans.
I laughed to say I wore the mark of Cain.
In the city they called you Carlota,
legless beggars waging their daily war.
In New Orleans we began to end
the night you lay on the bed in your blood,
a year later in Seattle bleeding,
and we were over before beginning,
the way a life goes when age covers you
with its shroud of years raping the future.
(10 February 2013)
copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander