Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Designated Griever

Finally, I was no more than griever.
Knowing no father, she sought one.
Another man is rekindling her fire.
Art might save you from anything.
Playing soprano sax straight out to life,
Sidney Bechet grew happy in Paris.
Love's little death was the discovery
Of any body's own Ponce de Leon's
Fountain of Youth between lovers' legs.

Call me Cunt, she said in the beginning;
Call me anything, but love me
(She stopped saying). She mothered me
With anger when she said I transgressed her
New code, revealing intimate details
So the old world might see the new.
She knew there was no need to fear
My absence. I floundered, regret
Flooding me with shame she chided me for.
Growing small, I asked forgiveness.
She said, Don't worry about it.

All that time, the half of one year

I knew her, she was welcoming
Another man into her arms
To restore her youth--a rose in her hair,
Smiling at last, kissing him with rose lips,
Prancing naked to lure his cock
Between her legs. I remember her last
Words to me were I want you inside me.
When our half moon turned into the New Year,
She said, Oh, did I forget you had a birthday?
Her way of starting to show me the door.
As another August approached, she said
Only what she could measure twice to cut.

What I prepared once reading the shadow
Of Emily Dickinson in Amherst
Wearing white on her second floor upstairs
Was the mania that led me to knock
On the door of the white house she died in.
From the river Styx, Jonathan Edwards
Reached the Connecticut, his Northampton
Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God
Left behind the doors of heaven and hell,
The wife of his youth, Sarah Pierpont, gone
Forever. He was crossing the bridge from
The vale of his church to the town Amherst,
Named for the Lord who brought smallpox blankets
Among those who were here long before him,
Where the preacher takes into marriage the poet:

Much Madness is divinest Sense--
To a discerning Eye--
Much Sense--the starkest Madness--
'Tis the Majority
In this, as all, prevail--
Demur--you're straightway dangerous
And handled with a Chain--

You who were my Esperanza

I saddled also with Preciosa:
You had said you wanted more than one name.
Now you forbid me to send couriers
Couriers to your newly minted door,
Put your hair back in the pigtails
I loved so, and cover your breasts
With the bedsheets you have smoothed and now tuck;

And I am left to remember only
The sweep of your gallery of still life
Photographs made by the men who came
Before me, before you called me
my love, my husband, my lover, my father
Leaving me behind my own bay windows.

(30 August 2014)

copyright 2014 by Floyce Alexander

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