Southern romantic that you always
were, what fallacy recalls you better
than the pathetic one?
If lightning fried a single swampy
pine anywhere south of Cincinnati,
you were gassing up the bagpipe and
drinking to your fallen comrade
before it hit the ground.
You had the knack I admire for self-
satisfaction, a gift for the dubious
backward—your cask of port in every
port and a woman in every storm.
Oh, True Love and Subject of My Late
Juvenilia, there wasn’t a ribald
particular I didn’t come to know:
the yoga instructress on Valentine’s Eve,
the xeroxed erotica files
arranged by body part. Did you think
you were the only mastermind with
a stoned cat purring on your lap, a loyal
death squad on retainer? Count it
a child’s Christmas miracle that I let
you live. Sources report you’re still
irresistible, a waltz-step elegy
with a showy limp, the same
theme-park pirate in a soiled black
patch, but why insist on covering
your good eye?
You know I don’t mean this,
as some girls say, in the bad way.
To be fair, you were generous with
a camellia and were born knowing
when to offer a lady your handkerchief.
Copyright © 2006 Erin Belieu
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Copper Canyon Press.