He hated the place. She went off to get two more
Hurricanes and he, without a word, sulked off
to the hotel. Maybe it was himself he hated
or the way they had recently begun
to fight, how they aimed to hurt each other forever.
He wasn’t there when she handed both
mammoth drinks to the policeman
who kept smiling while she
fished out her car keys. Where else is the law so
corrupted into friendliness? He tossed
in that moldy bedroom, and she,
so beautiful in his half-dreams,
and actually forgiving for the moment, and so young,
parked at an angle on a sidewalk and wandered
the dark streets beyond the Quarter, calling
out his secret name, smiling when
the girls and the drunks called back, He must be dead,
Honey. Come on in, come on along. They had strolled
the levies in the sober daylight, wondered
when the not-so-elevated departed
would wet their whistles again, knew with the certainty
of the hurt and the hurting that earth couldn’t
hold out forever. Don’t go down that street,
the man said, I believe you lost.
My husband left me, she said, but she didn’t mean it and
now he was searching every shadow, every sagging
face for her, the debris in his heart piling up,
all the common hours splintered,
and she maybe somewhere broken, ruined, helpless.
She didn’t mean it, even after she had forced
down both Hurricanes and stretched out
on a sticky bench as the storms
in her blood came on.