by Robert Bové (July 2007)
(Versions of these four poems appear in The Shell Line cycle in The UFOs of October.)
Lotus lies asleep on the beach
one hand at rest on backgammon board
filled with sand
down wind manhorse kneels up in sand
sniffs sea air, & whiff of Lotus.
Day long dusk of waterspouts, sheet lightning—
dull thunder echoes between black seas
& mare’s tales.
In the last possible minute
crimson Lotus stands on some pair of legs
& manhorse makes his move.
The Hanged Man, the Tower, & Death—
in whatever order, coming
from her hand, her mouth
pronouncing them good, each day’s new future
good in her hands, the care with which she lays
each card down
on glass coffee-table afternoons
& every morning he wakes to having things done for
his prospecting, his desire—
she said I see you in
manhorse gone, buried in largesse, good dope
& the automatic goodness of this good woman
in each cut of the deck, in each card placed
methodically upon card, sage airing
fate each afternoon, constant drizzle
dampening luck, pine breeze
sincere woman, provender
But this, cheri is the way you like it
& at this moment he can’t make it stop
When She Was a Girl
The neighbors got to know Lotus
always sitting in her window on Embassy Row
not far from the sidewalk where they blew up Letelier
scattered myth of democracia under taxi wheels, into rose bushes.
She never heard the bomb—What were you thinking?—
was hoping, she says now, for a beautiful face
a body as tall as the shortest of her friends
Don’t worry, you’ll grow
as she often thought of her father, always away
when he was alive.
Mother—who’d dashed up in the world
Child, your mother is a very beautiful woman
marrying her way from pickupburg trailer
to limotown consular rowhouse—
had something to teach her about the help
If you’re going to make them cook, get a big kitchen
about how much help was needed.
Lotus learned that—
and more, on her own
in the third-floor window
making folks crane their necks
Is that a voice, up there in the window?
to attend to her, the little girl—
how easy to get the busy folk
to stop and pay her mind
to keep her mind
off mother in her face
about her face and stature.
Lotus’s parents flew out to
the morning after they heard
I’d left her to go back East.
Bought her a house on a cliff
overlooking lazy river valley
the day after they arrived.
I was living on a cliff myself
the day after the day after
when Lotus called with her good news.
provisional capital of city drug trade
ass-end of things
Mi casa merde es tu casa merde.
about a mile
but it would have to be awfully wide
not to see
or wester beyond, where she still
starts her days with a doobie
& calls everyone until
Poem at Diaphanous Hotel
Signed, etched into the bedroom
wall, above headboard:
you had to be right
there to see it. It said:
Forget loneliness, remember me.
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