Thursday, July 18, 2013

St. Valentines Day

Dressed in red, like red wine,
she was all valentine.

I saw – too late to see –
which hand struck me,
and brought me to my knees.

It was St. Valentine’s day;
she was dressed all in red
like a bottle of wine,
and my momma said,
she was all valentine.

Dressed in red, like red wine,
she was all valentine;
she stood before me like a story
I had read, but not believed,
and I sighed deep, relieved
to know that I would not be alone.
She stood, by a yellow sky outlined,
as weighty drops of light fell like stones
and lit her face, then mine.
She was dressed in red, like wine,
and she was all valentine.

I was walking in an alley,
and she was walking
close, right beside me,
smiling and laughing, singing our song.
The moon above was passing
into the womb of dawn;
my hair was wet and white;
my feet, bold and light;
my heart, full and strong –
when with her, I was a King,
and she, like unto a queen –
I was forever young,
squinting in dashes of daylight
as she kissed goodbye the night –
everything was wrong;
everything was right.

I saw shadows behind me,
and lied about my youth;
I heard voices before me, shrill, frightening –
but not quite their meaning –
because, when with her,
my world was always spinning
too fast for listening;
too fast to tell the truth.

I heard too late to hear it;
I feared too late to fear it.
I thought this was our song, 
but I knew – all along –
you can change the music, but not the lyrics.

I saw the sun above, and read it;
but it was easy to forget it –
to every question, she was the answer.
I believed, with love’s faith, in her.
Perhaps, she knew; perhaps, even, I did too,
but neither ever said it,
and I could not admit it.

I remembered it was day,
and was surprised – I was not tired.
Her eyes turned sudden grey,
then blue, like friendly fire,
and blazed like diamond's glistening.
I started to say something,
but looked over, and found nothing
interested her; she was not listening.

I felt, at my back, a cruel wind
mingled with her whispers,
and I asked absently, “What am I doing here?”
and I recall, just then, she yawned –
and then, right then, I knew – a night was gone
that would not come again;
a dawn had come that would not ever end;
I saw her smile, but she did not see me,
and the Sunshine made her sleepy.

I heard, behind us, some men;
their very breath was threatening.
Before I knew it, we were surrounded;
their taunts in the alley resounded –
and without thought of life or health,
I started fighting – for her, for us –
for hope, and love, and trust –
but never for myself.
My life concerned me little;
she concerned me, little else.
I fought, and bled, and fought more,
and the only thought that filled me head
was, “Is the girl safe? Will she be well?”
And there, of a sudden, I fell
in a puddle of Sunshine, like one dead,
and I remembered what my momma said:
her hands were red, like red wine, 
and she was my valentine.

I saw too late to see
the hand that struck me,
but her hands were red, like red wine, 
and she was all valentine.

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