I took Angel back to her place
to pick up Beasley’s manuscripts.
Dee came along with her, mumbling
his ghost talk. He was like someone
Poe created. He and Angel
together now seemed like siblings
as he hit on my friend’s widow.
Dee was closer to death than her–
by how much who could tell?
I tried to think what I would do
once I had in hand the writings
of this late Shakespeare of Skid Road.
When we arrived Dee went away.
I felt relieved. I walked with her.
Sitting at Gerry’s writing desk–
a kitchen table never used
for eating–Angel seemed . . . forlorn
or lost were words too tame for her . . .
she was the most frightened creature
in this city I’d ever known.
She wept gathering his papers,
not even trying to talk now,
and I remembered the first night
I saw her. She bought our coffee
with money her body had earned
as though her cheerful banter rose
from a soul who sought nothing more
than Beasley’s company and mine.
Dee came by our café table
to pay his respects, then wandered
to a corner window waiting
under neon lights for someone
to sleep with long enough to earn
a living for another day,
who might even be the father
whose viciousness he could not bear.
There he was, with her, Gerry, and
the other human throwaways
cast out of Seattle’s heaven
and condemned to exist down here
until they died between Hell’s walls.
(5 April 2013: II)
copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander