Mother Mary, grant a prayer for me? The babies are sleeping so sound in their cradles and everyone else fell asleep in their drinks. The party wound down after sunset and midnight with one man lingering longer than most, damn his stubborn nocturnal bravado, his attractive features, his good taste in clothes. I’ve knelt here and waited, hunkered down in this closet, I swear the air’s getting harder to swallow but dear God in heaven, I don’t think he’ll leave! And here’s one reunion that’s too late in coming— I won’t take the high road, the low road’s just fine, thanks so please, Mother Mary, I’ll kneel and say penance, but grant me some whiskey and a pillow puh-lease?
“Through the deep night a magic mist led me
like a simpleton roaming the land,
no friends of my bosom beside me,
an outcast in places unknown.
I stretched out dejected and tearful
in a nut-sheltered wood all alone
and prayed to the bright King of Glory
with ‘Mercy!’ alone on my lips.”—First stanza of “Ceo Draiochta” by Eoghan Rua O Suilleabhain (eighteenth century Irish poet). Pretty pretty.
Time is money but I don’t see either of those things floating around my neck of the woods except for copper pennies (too many) cast in as cheap wishes swallowed up by green algae that collects and coagulates thickly on the edge of shallow pools and standing water— the coins settle heads down.
Jam on dry bread and wax on snow. Sailed away from St. John’s to escape pigeon greys and wedding whites and checked into a Dutch hotel for a number of rainy nights. It poured and poured and the other guests snored from the bridal suite. Left crying in a heap but pulled up with a heave-ho, now waiting for a west wind to blow her back home.
Love like a tumbleweed— head over heels with the wind at your back carrying you from high snares to low valleys, through mud and out of borderland tree lines, to further roll and twine for time out of season
until you’ve worn yourself into dust that sputters once before dispersing to sky-birthed heights and heavenly places
with little left to lose, tumble breakneck towards a brush fire and consume it.
Glass stone where? I’d break it all in a heated moment of feet don’t fail me now, bride’s torn that veil to pieces after all is said and done I’m no more a sinner, he’s no less a saint fenced in on both sides by sea grass as high and red as our tempers.
A common thread wrapped us— took you by the neck and me by the wrists and led us down too many flights of stairs where we stumbled on slippery steps and you hurtled over the railing, face to an abyss I shivered to glance at. Hands bound, I lifted you up, tried anyway, as you pulled me down, that thread strangling us both before it broke.
There’s a rhythm to it— the crescendo, I mean. People forget that each passionate declaration that brings down the house on one word, with one shout, is the culmination of everything before it. There’s no let it be without love me do. No rest for the weary without wearing us out.
Time might make amends but I haven’t cursed you out this long to let you slither eel-like back from one, two, three times around this racetrack, you’ll slide into the boards and run headlong against that glass menagerie you call a heart. It broke into a million, tiny ice pick pieces and when the clock stopped ticking, the fans went wild.
Sometimes I dream dreams. This is what he said to the belle of the hour, dressed as a bohemian, a rather shabby entrance, but nonetheless willing to dance for a few dollars and certainly not as crass as a lawyer with a pin-striped suit and a taste for hard liquor.
…bastards. Many hands make light work and this time I’ll peel the rind— citrus spray in a couple cup-fulls of sunshine dew drops off my brow like blood from a festered wound cried out when the bag of flour exploded. Rage dissolved like oil in water when we took out the kitchen knives and went hunting.
I’m finding my way. That’s what the old folks have to say about it. Muddling through with my fingers pressed against these silent walls, the doors whisper my progress, catty and conspiring against me, slammed shut, locked out. Windows, cruel and cold-faced, have a habit of laughing loudly until (curious) I’m beckoned. There, through the solid glass panes sit silk and satin flowers, the plucked and pruned bourgeoisie— eating and drinking and holding the keys.
An accidental army wife flag burned stands firm in the far green country that placates youth in tin jars and copper kettles filled to each lipped rim with thimbles, pins and buttons shiny white buttons blue threads eyes wide and waiting for news.
Your words on the wire— the telegraph wire— were delayed by the weight of a murder, like black spots on a thin soul, those crows’ feet bent the wire, and not knowing this, I hated you for a long while.