[a poem from about a year ago dedicated to my friend Rosa.]
We were born of the same parents,
you and I,
a twinkling nicety, once, in a young uterus;
worn well now, our skin,
and different like the differing shades in a blond boy’s hair.
Fellow travelers, both,
but you with more memory of the world in you,
and I with the unsteady legs I’ve had little chance to stretch
on foreign soil.
We were so tired when we met
that on the long ride home
we ran every red light until
our fingers pushed past the obstacles
God had laid in front of us,
and the streetlamps rose up in revolt against Him.
We ran the lights with our eyes closed,
and if our sons asked us we’d tell them, well,
we stopped when we were asked
and our eyes were dry from watching for the limits to our being,
when really we’d never known the sound of slowing down,
as if our foot were glued to the gas,
and we ran every red light with our eyes closed.
You were the girlfriend of a friend, then
and the same today, though of a different friend,
but you, the bubbly girl I met sitting on a dark blue couch,
are a very different person to me now.
I know you to be of a kind emotional,
like an ex-girlfriend of mine,
and with that same sort of proud unreasonableness
that lies crouched close to your overworked heart.
I can see you’re bursting,
your arms filled with gifts that fall haphazardly out of your strong palms —
you like a pint glass placed a bit clumsily back on the table,
splashing over the rim in great sloshing globules onto a lacquered walnut bar,
and me the slow drip through a hairline fracture,
both hoping for a deeper vessel
and a better keeper.
I know one day you will find steady hands to pour yourself into.