Robert Lietz

I'll Be Home: A Flamingo Valentine (9)

A Line

The flowers I sent, shivering on the deckboards,
bring the dogs around, and you with them discovering,
giving the hues your mind, the scents a place
at table's end there in your kitchen, where they will sit
to fill their picture and my absence, until I have come
and shared your many names for them. I think of chicken cuts,
the gingered asparagus or last night's saddest tortelini,
the monstrous folds the wave's made ugly, edible. And --
thinking of you, Elizabeth, of flowers doubling the hues
and shadings of becoming""-- closing the time and space
between""-- I'm counting on your eyes now, your speaking
for description, until I can see myself, until there is music
ahead, and love, grown long on interest, there's music ahead
and heard, with Zeke himself, exploring the moods
and audience, and you, in that upstairs hall, adding your pleasure
to that singing, where I am more pleased and amateur,
enjoying the platform lights, the hues, and anniversary surprises,
this old-fashioned timeless stuff, in seasons as worn
and wise as Solomon might ask for, and where I am with you
now, remembering with you the beverages, the tables
around made hazy with expensive thick cigars. Maybe a mind
outgrows the old sportscores and heresies,
the physics set in some unlabeled distances. Maybe a mind
accepts the commoner hues and likelihoods,
remembering that stage-bright and well-sealed atmosphere --
all in a weekend's excellence""-- inviting the amateur to tell,
if not to tell so much as to be lifted by the music, even
as windy warm, unwinterly, the whole outdoors shrinks down
to space we're building in, to moments like these midweek,
more clear because you've troubled the instructing, and filled
by these voices now, rounding themselves in space
imprinted by their styles. Let the lyrics speak for other ways
and listening. Let the dark speak hues, and every other
natural tincture, speak for these hues and all the weekend's
made for us to promise. Saturday's veal and pinot.
And Sunday's this cubed cheese, chili, these football recipes,
a few hours more to share with one roof's weathers
overhead, one morning's drive ahead, with all of its sorry
influence, all of its darkness still, and joys, more fully
ours to carry, remembering the chips and orchestras,
the ways hearts feel, as if loving for the first time,
even as the dark withdraws, as Nothing itself
withdraws at this convincing genesis.

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The 2River View, 3_4 (Summer 1999)