Somewhere behind me
the staccato of young men,
their laughter, a fitting truth,
something I wish I had
moments ago when the news
covered my body like sudden
rain.. Beside me, an umbrella
I’ve carried since morning.
I hope to God I don’t forget it
when it’s time again to leave.
I’ve ruined more evenings that way,
my shoes soaked, my body shaking.
I don’t know what kind of animal
love is. I do know how to pray
on bent knees for someone
else’s failure. From the ledge
of a lonely and startled dream,
I put my hands together and begin
the way anyone would: Dear God
In my dreams I play flower girl
at your wedding. A meticulous
and rehearsed walk down
the lantern-lit aisle, a white wicker
basket anchoring my enthusiasm,
releasing the pink petals carelessly
into the wind. Pink being, in my mind,
the color of grace, the basket a symbol of sanity,
my dress, black as a bitch slap, the only sign
that something is terribly wrong.
That and the fact that I kidnapped,
in the name of forgiveness, the real flower girl,
tied her to the back seat of my car
(I’ve cracked the windows). She’ll return
home after the reception, unharmed,
I promise, after we have danced and danced,
and after, god willing, I lift a glass to you Jennifer,
to you Chris, that you both may see how much I have grown.
We go back and forth like this:
raising our gin soaked chins
to a translucent daytime moon,
toasting the indecent goldenrod,
the sweet sting of morning,
then, falling deep into an unbelievable ,
memorizing the hibiscus.
Last night, a dozen friends joked
as you stripped clean and rode the rope
swing into the river. Afterwards, the wine wet,
the grass low and dying, we vowed to cherish
the balding crocus in sickness and health.
This morning we watch the birds
return one by one to Wang’s roof,
our backs against the same oak,
our tumblers now empty.
I am drifting in and out of consciousness
but you are still awake, writing something down,
transfixed by willow-blossom, the call of the moon,