Poem-a-Day 2017 Writer’s Digest Challenge #26. Theme: Regret

Almond Pistachio

So I was sitting in the car with my daughter,
the secondhand light from the windshield
warming my face,
even as the breeze from the open windows
cooled it,
waiting for my husband to return with his
self-medicating bourbon,
all the while planning Easter dinner,
trying to think of springy foods,
thinking a pistachio dessert would be just that,
being green.

And it was then,
like a flash of lightning,
I remembered Joey had loved
almond pistachio ice cream,
for we had went to the parlor once,
where I always got chocolate mint,
which was unnaturally green.

Overcome, I was, with this memory,
which fails me often,
for people will come up to me,
and I will walk with them in stores,
not knowing who they are.

Seven years too late,
seven years too late I waited,
to tell this boy,
now a man,
how sorry I was
for shamelessly using his glorious body,
well-endowed by our Creator,
to forget the man whose heart
was cold to me
because I fit not the Molly Mormon mold.

Seven years gone from this earth,
and I never even knew,
thinking, every once in a great while,
that we would run into each other someday,
and I could love him as a friend,
as I hadn’t been able to love him as a boyfriend.

My Joey—
with the Elvis sideburns and
the smile that would cause women of all ages
to throw piles of money on the tables he waited—
this boy whose love for me was lusty and pure,
who could’ve given me lots of children,
but I wouldn’t have had the one who is in the back seat,
chattering away in echolalia,
because the love I have for the one I have
is priceless against the ones I could have had.

Because of her,
I’ve no regrets,
save for a kindness owed.

This ice cream memory
struck me like lightning.
I pray it will strike twice,
for I am torn apart with grief
for this boy I know now
I could have loved.

I ask God
to tell Joey I am sorry—
to tell him that I had cared
and not known it
after all.

Herstory almost repeated itself,
for I almost lost my second chance
at a Joey-like love,
because I was in love with another man
when I met my husband,
and time was running out;
for what, I did not know,
but I married the man who loved me back,
just as I should have done
all those years ago.

2017 April PAD Challenge: Day 26

Poem-a-Day Writer’s Digest Challenge #22. Theme: Waiting for (Blank)

Several months ago, I read a story in “The New Yorker” about a woman whose mother told her that her father would come back before John Wayne died, because she thought he would never die (though I cannot find the story now, and I almost wonder if I dreamt it).  The story resonated with me, though, like it often is with a piece of art, I couldn’t say why.

The other night, I watched a movie called “Blossoms in the Dust”, starring Greer Garson (who, though not a beauty, had such a radiant charm, her beauty exceeded that of many others) and Walter Pidgeon (who I always thought was handsomer and more refined than Tyrone Power).  Blossoms” was about Edna Gladney, who fought for the word “illegitimate” to be stricken from birth certificates because of the social stigma.

Hence, the inspirations for this poem.

Waiting for her Father

She sits at the bay window,
surrounded by light,
her back to the shadows of the empty house.
From ages seven to twenty-one,
she has sat in this space on this date—
till the day the Legend died:
her birthday,
his deathday.

He will come, her mother had said,
before Elvis leaves this Earth,
he will come,
but then her mother had thought Elvis
would never die,
even though legends did all the time.

When the Legend passed on
to a world or worlds unknown,
it was like a second birthday,
a rebirth,
even though a part of her,
that part of her called hope,
died that day, too.
And yet, how freeing was a lack of hope
in things, or people, never seen,
and how limitless was hope in what was to come,
dependent upon her and no one else?

Fourteen years she had waited,
like Rachel,
laboring by being good
so that when he did come back,
he would stay.

But all those years had not been in vain,
for all the good she had been,
she had been for him,
till doing good became a part of her,
and it was only for that and her life,
she could thank him for.