Saturday, March 1, 2014

Poem: Claddagh


Faith is a word with two meanings.

Let’s boil the potato down to the
skin and say that you were right.
You fought your trickster brain,
constructed a house of pills and lace,
a lover tucked safely across the continent.

A westerly breeze threatened to
blow you to the four corners of New York.

I had no choice.
Living on still waters I
longed for the earthquake,
a sun that rose on the ocean,
love that called for everything.

Faith has two meanings.

It’s easy to say it would have
been a disaster, but given an
expression that resembled
hope more than fear,
given no choice but to make it work,
I would have made it work.

Instead, you bought a gun,
aimed it at my temple,
and then, what was worst,
refused to pull the trigger.

Faith. Two.

This week the anniversary,
which might have passed were it
not for the onslaught of ghosts:
message from a friend,
favorite band, income taxes,
an old movie.

A forty-year-old kneels on a
Long Island beach,
laying out his future.
She takes the golden bracelet,
smiles, and says yes.

In the parking lot,
she says yes maybe.
His shoes turn into steel rails that
run west into Manhattan,
skirting the Hudson, a pause in Pittsburgh,
a mad rush toward the Rockies.

A fifty-year-old stands in a
California post office,
picks out a sheet of flowered stamps.
Later, he pulls them out and
discovers wedding cakes.

First published in The Ranfurly Review
From the collection Fields of Satchmo

Photo by MJV

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