Wednesday, March 12

maria of the water

maria of the water, in a perpetual state
of almost-engagement. at lunch, the ladies
laid their knives upon the china plates and chattered,
"She'll tell us, right? We'll see the ring.
Maria loves us. She can't hide anything."

maria was just like me. a year older, perhaps
and she fell asleep on his couch half
the weekdays; he had some insurance job
far away and maria had a red dress.
that's how things were supposed to happen, right?
i guess.

a deeper trust I can't remember now-
out on the water, how i squinted
(as much as these lashes would allow) across the pier,
past her red form. the lake was flat

i had a bicycle and no fear of death
yet no embrace of it. i rode
from stretch to stretch. if danger arose
i just had to face it. that's the way it was.

in my dreams i am often paralyzed.
amidst east coast breezes;
i realize now, i should not have lied-
"Maria can't hide from us"-
She shut her mouth, from disdain or to be demure.
(And the ladies at the table pay their way out of danger,
Some invisible bribe built on why they're insecure.)

Look, that's a worse fate.
Look, I'll be crushed before I remember who I am.
You can go ahead and hide behind your rings,
Tricked into thinking they deflect bullets, but I don't believe those things.
I have great ribs to scatter before the sky, bird-bones to hollow out,
I want my chance to fly. I will leave St. Vincent's, with sure knowledge when
I will return to that pavement pyre, to rest, and come to life again.

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