(a revision of an earlier draft thought lost
before finding it here after writing what I
offer above as the still unfinished
but, at least for now, final version:)
I was always, finally, the griever.
Her father long gone, she sought him.
Then a lover came to make her young.
Art saved me from everything.
Playing his soprano saxaphone
Straight out to life, Sidney Bechet
Was happy. Love's little death
I called the body's Ponce de Leon
Fountain between my legs.
Call me cunt, she offered in
The beginning. Call me anything
But love me, I heard her say.
She mothered me with anger
Once I transgressed her code
And she had no need to fear
My absence. I floundered,
Regret releasing a flood
Of shame she chided me for.
Growing small, I asked forgiveness.
She said, Don't worry about it.
During the time I knew her,
the last half of that year she was
welcoming a lover to her bed
to restore her youth: braiding her hair
with red ribbons, prancing naked
to lure his cock between her legs.
Her last words to me, I want you
inside me. August led to New Year's:
Oh, did I forget you had a birthday?
she said, leading me to the door.
When August returned, her tongue
said only what she could measure.
I was prepared by the lady in white
upstairs, or so I drunkenly thought.
When I knocked, no one answered.
I had come to Amherst as the war
in Indochina began to reach its end.
I was here to read and that way have
new dreams: Jonathan Edwards
snuffed out by the pox the Indians
around him suffered, his Sinners
in the Hands of an Angry God left
in his grave when he climbed out
and in my dreams returned one night
to the Connecticut River all the way
back from the River Styx. On the bridge
between his town and hers, Edwards
forgot Sarah Pierpont, his true wife,
to marry Emily Dickinson, who wrote:
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-
Esperanza I saddled with Preciosa
since she sought more names
than one, had forbidden me to send
couriers to her newly minted door,
put her hair back in the pigtails
I had admired; the rumpled bedsheets
she covered her two breasts with
smoothed and tucked: her many
still-life moments of loving those
who had come before me
to be the father, lover, brothers
she had sent away to their lairs.
(29 August 2014)
copyright 2014 by Floyce Alexander