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.
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 cold, but 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