Fiance by Mark Petrie

Remember our lists of festivals?
Linens (White and Dirty), Shakespeares, Bayous?
Everything save the Blue Dog. Loathe
the Blue Dog and his Metairie monument
on Veterans Boulevard, his Hecate-triple
faces in primary colors.
If Woody Allen in Central Park had his Rhapsody
in Blue, we had beneath the Spanish moss
our Claire de Lune. The sprinkle of lightening
bugs, drifting swans. Those Saturdays
sprawled, high, under the oldest live oak
in the city (save one), we’d map our day
as if it mattered. A family
of ibis peruse the grass like old men
scanning the beach for change,
their orange beaks bent like canes
or third legs. Now, from up river
I imagine those old men feed
around new lovers, not you, not me.
And tonight you pack a suitcase
for a conference in Vancouver. Ironing
your favorite blue dress. Forgetting your
favorite scrunchie. And in the library
I’m writing the love poem I promised. In jest,
you said in a text you’d die before
me. Poor ghost. Poor ghost. Lowell’s
two long words invent this as much
as any pastoral memory. You introduced us,
Inauguration Day: January 1953. So cold,
so still, so unlike the whipping DC wind
the night we proposed
beside the pond. Old ghost. Young flame.

About Mark Petrie