Over the Other Side of the Country

By L. Danielle Beazer

 

I

November, walking home 
he recalls a lover  
from college days;  
the leaves, curled and wet,  
remind him.  
He breathes in quick ,  
surprised at the memory.  
It has been years;  
no name comes to mind .  
On his doorstep  
a cat bats her tail,  
annoyed at his absence.  
He lets her indoors  
then sits by the window  
studying the curtains.  
The cat jumps to his lap,  
her paws on his chest;  
he strokes her spine:  
" Tahti-to what do I owe this pleasure?" 

II  

What were his best years?  
He thinks,  
and cannot put them all in one.  
A time when he was ten,  
watching his father  
tie wires for the fencing,  
tying them so tightly  
a red flush would rise along the palms;  
and suddenly he misses his father.  

The birth of his son,  
the tiny feet fanned like angel’s wings;  then Melinda leaving,  
taking the boy.  

A girl in a bar, not over 2 5  
asked him between puffs on a Lucky, 
“So like, what’s it like at 40?”  
“The same as 20-only paunchier.” 
Of course she laughed and as they danced
she whispered
to his ear lobe  
how she could take off ten years. 

III  

Melinda  
In summer  
they stayed in Virginia  
in a cabin  
with its warm insides  
of russet and fire.  
He remembers waking to a movement from her 
and watching her pad to the window 
before morning really came.  
She breathed on the glass  
and formed a round kiss  
which would dirty the pane
when the mist disappeared.
She stood there for minutes, 
goose bumps rising along her legs. 
He imagined her breasts firming to the coldbut she stood there for minutes  
and never really came back. 

IV  
The cat sleeps on his lap  
like a warm velvet lamb.  
Outside streetlamps glow smokily in the rain 
The storm crackles-red from the brake lights of passing cars, 
red from the ABC store's neon sign down the street, 
red from the wet brick doorstep incubating  
under the porch light ....  
And so they are gone.  
He had lost them somewhere  
behind the fences, the cabin,  
the angel's wings,  
cold mornings and warm ones 
Wet nights like these in Georgetown 
A cat, a curtain,  
A nameless lover  
living somewhere  
over the other side of the country.  

L. Danielle Beazer