Sestina at a Sales Convention
Nursing a beer at the Hyatt, I sat.
Then a girl sat down next to me and said,
“we always threw such fabulous parties.”
I decided to play along: “our children
are strong and healthy. I wish they’d call more.”
She smiled, nodded. “Sometimes they’re just that way.”
“Despite the kid chaos, we’d find a way
to sneak off to some island where we sat
like happy Buddhas, never wanting more,
our glasses always full. Then we’d dance,” I said.
“We’d kiss and dance and giggle like children
at a carnival, or birthday parties.”
“We always threw such glamorous parties.
Halloween was the best, maybe the way
Everyone wore masks, even the children
--all except George. On that couch he sat
still as a candle about to go out,” she said.
“Waiting for candy. He always wants more.”
And in that silence there grew something more
between us as we talked of past parties
and themes and color schemes. “Thirsty?” I said.
“You know I like Belvedere and the way
you get the soda just right.” So she sat
while I went to the bar, thinking of children.
When I returned she said, “you know, the children
happened quick. Didn’t you want something more?”
“They’re grown and gone, and in the time we’ve sat
we could have been planning more great parties.”
“You’re evasive. And—pensive? Maybe the way
you hold me like you’re losing me,” she said.
“No. I’m always drawn to swim in your eyes,” I said.
“The light and love in you is in our children.
There’s no mistake. You have a special way.
We’ve lived as giants, and yes, I want more—
more of you, more of us, more NOW, not parties.”
Our eyes locked again. We held hands and sat.
We sat there thinking of our ghost children,
wishing for something more. Drinks? More parties?
Nothing more was said. Sometimes we leave that way.
Like waterfalls that dissolve us back into cold sand,
we left grim shadows in the dark rain
until the fire came, volcanic and thick,
and fused us into obsidian glass
the little girl found
once upon a nuclear winter.
She held us up to her eyes and saw clouds
moving on a clear day and thought
of ancient times when memories
were not her own.
The Almost Time
She suspends a cluster of grapes,
deep purple satellites circling her mouth.
She begins, “But here’s a suggestion,”
as she relaxes on the divan, her voice
textured and delicious. This lioness mother
of directions watches me as I stand
like a sacrifice, waiting.
For now we’re free—we live
and there’s time to find love,
--our androgynous morality,
our separating sex,
our one-sided anatomies,
our dual natures,
a conspiracy of confusion
driving us towards a last
impossible kiss on a grinning
face covered by a shroud—
Yet we are a touch away; a whisper
is the only distance.
We build toward the song
that never leaves. “Hello,” I said.