In honor of National Poetry Month, I am posting a poem for your enjoyment. It’s one of those “found” poems from my notebook in which I jot down observations, insights, snippets of conversations, and idiosyncrasies that simmer for months or sometimes years until a poem eventually emerges.
Hotel La Violeta
We step out of the elevator and into soft blue light—you in a red slinky dress with silver sparkles, I in a blue velvet dress with black high heels—swaying to Tracy Chapman’s sad serenade, “Give Me One Reason,” while a boy streaks through the lobby in his Spiderman underwear, his father waving the boy’s khaki pants and shouting, “You can’t escape!” We meander over to the bar with its brassy table top and you lean over the clear empty glasses and fall in love with the band instantly. I watch mermaids with broken bodies swim down the wall. Two college roommates play chess in the corner. The potted plant in the window sill reminds me of Patti placing a “Just Divorced!” sign on her window at work. The branch manager served chocolate cake and vanilla ice cream that afternoon. I drank a glass of champagne and thought about how I don’t want to be Patti, all grown up with no place to go because she still has Benjamin, 7, and Laura, 12. I want to be here, with you, away from kids in Spiderman underwear, kids who eat like chipmunks and scream like banshees. I want to know you will never leave me three days before the baby’s due for a business trip, only to visit an old lover whose flame has not fanned out. I want to wake up to red begonias on the night stand, not a fire in the wishing well. I want to hold you, as you held me, sharing joy like a lollipop. As I think these things, my hand lingers on your wrist. You glance up at me with a weak smile. I squeeze, Are you okay?, into your hand. You lean over and whisper, “Remember that floral stationery I bought when we were ten? The one that said, ‘I wish you’d plant your tulips on mine’?” I nod, remembering, just as your lips press against my skin, branding a memory into my body (which is no longer mine) but yours.