Years after she had learned horror firsthand
from the man who turned away from the spell
of beauty he believed would fade with age,
he insisted then she glow through her tears.
Only she and her man know, though I,
for one, wish the glow to be always hers,
that she have the luck to be companioned
by a lover who gentles her wisdom,
and know the horror’s over, her body
cushioned by his sleep, her arms laced with his.
No man truly tender can abide this
cruelty, neither in his own strange stars
nor in that husband’s rage whose blows straight off
delivered her. Silence fear, young woman
with so much untimely learned. You know what
you not only want but need. Live once more.
She is older now than I am inside,
than I will ever be, but this planet
on life support will thrive with blood and joy
until its confused end, if the mind wakes
in time . . . And so may you, my brief treasure,
see birds fly, fish leap, deer make perfect arcs
turtles measuring the weight of their shells
on feet too old for this world and too young
for yours. I am too old to father you.
I will study your soul’s shape and draw it
like a silhouette I made as a child,
sculptor of paper, painter whose brush lay
drying by a river in the sun. Hers
is the shape of sadness renewed by her
glad heart reaching out and coming back in,
both ways at once, surely the flint that strikes
the spark of her life’s fire . . . without terror.
(10, 11, 12 July 2013)
copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander