Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Fiancee

( An aside in the great author's life.)

She was labeled the fiancée
who wore his diamond ring and worked the day-shift
to support her man. Supper
was also her duty --- arranging
a glass ensemble of bowls and goblets,
plates and cutlery,
fish, rice and salad.

She could manage a fine meal
but not curb the writer's famine.
He had thrown himself vigorously
into 75 pages of a novel, not realizing
how the great divide
between Pulitzer and plebeian
could easily draw him down, dungeon him
in a state of writer's block.

Light filtered through the moments,
caught a sad reflection of him
in the shaving mirror.Yet, no mention
of her shadow sorting the towels
or polishing the faucets.
She bathed him in sympathy
and worried about his his blood
pressure rising, his breath tightened
within its crate of bone.

When genius failed, other pages
prattling on with dull action,
he renounced writing and retreated
from love. He left his memory
under her roof and that sentence
about some water god ruling
his fiction --- even his family roots
with hypnotic power.

Disillusioned, she moved to Paris
and rented a pied-à-terre
on the Left Bank.
Sunshine courted her with scenery,
lured her to the terrace
where she cultivated flowers.

Umbrella days
compelled her to watch the rain
searching for traces
of the Slavic merman
who haunted his drama
as the sailor's curse, the character's bane.

One morning
when she absentmindedly
spilled water on Le Figaro.
the stained headline and photo
snared her attention.
Andrej had won The Prize, his book finished
and a new fiancee on his arm.
Tall, wet and lovely,
the girl from Ipanema
rose out of the dusk, the ink-blurred haze
of a hallway with stairs in the background.

All those stairs, her own building
revered them. No lift in the Saint Germain villa.
Two flights up, two flights down,
each day she knew the ache
of knees, the worn splendor
and wide loneliness of marble. And somehow
she sensed his Brazilian bride
would only stay afloat
if she could surf the red carpet
and take the day's pulse
with Rolex gold. The veiled gift
of the fisher-prince
was finally unveiled.

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