Come On In, Come On Along ~ Ron Smith

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.

 

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