They gathered to hear Angel tell them of her trip
to the city. As Dee listened, the light
in his eyes flickered. Angel never talked
to him alone, although she sometimes asked,
Were you born here? (Beasley had told her that.)
Dee did not remember, though his mother
came from here, had lived in this wilderness.
He remembered her blue eyes, her red hair
to her hips. She was a witch in her youth.
Like her, he stared through trees to where the sea
pitched salt spray higher than his memories
of Seattle, living underground, reading Poe.
Beasley’s dying wish to write his Tempest
led Dee back here to play his Caliban.
He must have been a slave when he was young.
For him whoring was no barbarous art.
Hourly, Dee retched to purge his body’s waste.
He’d be happy to leave No Man’s Island,
where surely he was born inside a storm.
He did not consider himself a man,
he preferred to be a woman. How could
he be one here? He’d have to start over.
Mama Tempest had gone to Manhattan
to be an ecdysiast, removing her clothes
slowly from her tall body, bold now as ever,
she said in her annual letter to Dee.
Once she had been Elvis Presley’s lover.
At seventy she kept on performing,
still statuesque as she stripped, the young turks
of Wall Street all hoping to be chosen
to profit from her secrets of intimacy,
though she quickly pumped each one dry,
told him to be gone by dawn, once night birds
had flown, the deer leaving the streets
to trucks pouring water over their tracks.
(1 May 2013)
copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander