waitress poems

Friday, June 10, 2005

NINETEEN YEARS AFTER THE AFFAIR

She remembers that he drank only the blackest beer
and tipped with abandon; she could still pick out
the bomber jacket he found at the dump
and wore for a season, or his Volkswagen bug--
bee yellow, its trunk secured with a piece of rope.

In nineteen years she has never quite freed herself
from the vulnerability at the nape of his neck
after a haircut, or the drowsy afternoons
in a Guatemalan hammock that hung inside his house.
Though lost in the many moves that followed,
she remembers the books he lent her--Bellow and Kafka--
his reckless underlinings and exclamation points
more vivid to her than symbol or plot.

In dreams, she occasionally runs into
the string of wild roommates
who traipsed through his rented farmhouse
that year: the pacifist who tried to seduce her
while he was away, a graceful skier jailed
for writing bad checks--all look remarkably well.

Sometimes she wonders if he has forgotten
the snow that year, or the way
everything between them was defined
by glacial temperatures--
heat blowing on their faces in the car
when they sat in his driveway till morning,
a frost that penetrated his bedroom window
the first time she wrote her name there.

One morning toward the end of winter
he pointed to a notebook that sat on his desk.
The night before he had been up till three writing.
About her. Too shy or too perversely wise (which was it?)
she never asked to read his words.
Instead, while silence grew as deep as snow,
she let the hour pass, the season end,
the lease to the farmhouse expire.

Nineteen winters, and that unforgettable cold,
a drift of pristine snow, have followed her,
but the notebook remains as it was
on his long abandoned desk:
unopened, unread, the story
of a life she never dared to claim.

4 Comments:

  • ' unopened, unread, the story
    of a life she never dared to claim.'

    Succinct and aimed straight where it hurts! loved it.

    Thankyou for droppin by at my blog and letting me discover you and what a wonderful discovery it is :)
    I shall surely be back!

    By Blogger Pincushion, at 12:01 PM  

  • Thanks, pincushion. I'll be returning to your blog, too.

    By Blogger Patry Francis, at 12:19 PM  

  • I don't know if I could have bypassed reading something. Surely, after a few years the temptation would be great. Of course, reading would have possibly spoiled the memory and the story. Hmm...

    By Blogger Vickie, at 6:21 PM  

  • "she never asked to read his words.
    Instead, while silence grew as deep as snow,
    she let the hour pass, the season end,
    the lease to the farmhouse expire.

    Nineteen winters, and that unforgettable cold,
    a drift of pristine snow, have followed her,
    but the notebook remains as it was
    on his long abandoned desk:
    unopened, unread, the story
    of a life she never dared to claim."

    Memorable lines. If it were in print, I too would have underlined them...

    By Blogger sigmund fraud, at 5:40 AM  

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