You, unhappy lady, were
never saved by anybody.”
― Marina Tsvetaeva
I had long hair then. Jules had just made clear her indifference,
her wild desire for me to leave, and so I did, on the Greyhound.
The Soviets launched Laika the dog-
we sent rhesus monkey Sam into space;
I took pills from a baggie John pressed into my palm to stop me crying,
and I swung ahead without moving, dreaming of pissing on the whole Earth.
In Oregon, I met a guy. He said he liked Gordon Lightfoot,
"You've Been Talking In Your Sleep." I had never heard it.
He told me about himself, and I wondered, how do you know
I don't have a bomb in my boho bag?
How do you know I don't go around blowing up buses,
bulldozers, abortion clinics, banks?
When a woman broke my heart, sometimes I used to let guys fall for me.
It assuaged the hurt, kept me looking pretty
like a cut stem in a glass of sugar water that will die anyway, but more slowly.
It was riskless--I wouldn't love them;
I was just a hive of honey left out for the ants, a crust on the counter,
a sweet '56 left to rust and become art.
I cut my hair last spring. I gave up on love in 2009.
Look at my yard, I can't bear to clear the trash trees.
John put a shotgun in his mouth years ago, and I don't get high anymore.
I wonder if Laika slept at all,
I wonder if she dreamed of the alleys and garbage cans of Moscow?
I wonder what made me think of that guy on the bus through Oregon?
"I heard you softly whisper..."
I have given myself body and soul to half a dozen women and one man.
I live alone. The moon rises and sets.
Sometimes, in the morning, she is still there in the sky,
pale, beautiful, and if I spoke in my sleep, if I confessed anything,
she would never betray me, not from such a distance,
though I die in orbit, howling.
For Play it Again, Toads 18. Image at top by Margaret Bednar. I chose Kerry's challenge.