My Drinking Dream Of Helen T.
Even though I know that endings are as natural as rivers,
I was missing you
Missing the face I had come to love and count on.
How was I to know
You would actually come back?
Even though this time was different,
Even though this time we stood apart,
Even if clear-eyed and not unkindly.
When you came back,
I wasn't the girl you remembered.
I was turning one last trick in the grey dawn,
And even though that long line of others back through the night had not been my choice,
This one was.
I had thought, I can use the money to buy myself something nice,
And so that's what I was doing when you found me.
Disappointment seen on a much-loved face is acid to the soul;
It wasn't any of the rest of that night that broke me--
It was your heart-shaped face
And your kindness, afterward, anyway.
By the next night,
You had gone--
And I was drunk as a nun on the body and blood
When I decided to go see you one last time.
I left, barely noticed by the other girls,
Who were all
Than I was.
No one would have thought that a fucked-up Bo Peep like me could steal a car so easily,
But soon I was on the road
With a little pretty book in my pocket
Whose pages were painted with the best of me.
I jumped curbs, ran lights,
And made it through the blurry world, wondering why the wheel seemed so loose
And onrushing objects so near.
You were at church with your family for Easter.
The ushers caught me at the door and made me dress in male drag, like a groom or a porter--
I couldn't get the tie right,
And my neck didn't fill the collar,
But drunken detachment and the desire to see you made me care/not care
Enough to wander inside and search for your face as if it were an icon.
I never did find you,
Though I felt you there, with your husband and your neighbors and your place in the world.
It was so terribly hard to focus my eyes,
And I knew I looked ridiculous
And would never fit in there, in your world,
So I gave up and left
With the little book still in my pocket.
I had wanted to show it to you,
Every perfect page--
That had been the whole point,
And to say, to the face I loved so much,
And, through tears,