The Memory of Love’s Refrain
Reading his love poems
To you, written in 1940,
Makes you blush. We
Have crossed the threshold
Of your privacy. Outside,
A doe and two fawns
Emerge briefly from the meadow,
Cross the back yard, and vanish.
To divert us from love poems,
You bring up the Depression
And say that your father
Voted against Roosevelt in 1932.
Shocking, but we
Are not diverted.
The poems say that his love
For you will last forever, like stardust,
And if his plane goes down in flames
Over Naples you will be together
In paradise where roses bloom.
He survived for sixty more years
And never wrote another poem.
You said he wouldn’t want
A funeral. So there was nothing.
And now, in purple dusk of twilight time,
We discover the love poems,
240 of them, on faded paper,
Written before you were married,
Sent from Mobile, Tunis, Sicily,
Saved in a box
For seventy-two years.
We never knew about them
While he was alive.
He just went to the office
Day after day while
We played out our little scenes.
He once took a correspondence
Course in painting. Landscapes,
Meadows, moonlight and gardens.
One year, he tried to learn piano.
Why did you keep them hidden?
What else is locked
Away? You see, in this century
Everything is laid bare. We are all
Ourselves. You say maybe
We should scatter
His ashes beside the garden wall.
And maybe you
Could be there, too.
Aug. 17, 2012