We Are Blessed
with flowers and messages inscribed with good wishes,
and I think to myself what I really want to say to you
with captured words that never leave my imprisoned tongue.
Thalia, people do agree I did the right thing no matter
what you may believe.
We wait in this boat, as the government decides what to do with us,
its berths no different from jail cells. All day, everyday, what are you
sniveling about? my whore wife, child, the whiff of you
sickening me, you who are nothing but a fucking bitch
who instigated what we are enmeshed in, which is not
like the pranks we played in Patchogue.
This is real! And you pushed me to anger like someone
pushes a kid from behind to do something he doesn't want to
that I had to go through that dark tunnel and fall off the cliff.
During this whole time, I had to wonder about you,
who you were—what hemlocks you had walked under,
what lilacs branches you had snapped for your bouquets. Under
what sky, under what waterfall?–especially when you actually
sully the very leaves and ground you touch.
You dirty everything.
I often wondered about us, the forces that drove us—your liquor,
your mother, my honor—the unremitting anger beneath my breastbone
that swung like a pendulous knife above our lives,
and there was no turning back.
Lovely wife, lovely daughter . . . . No one knows better than me
as to whom you really are, though I must admit you put on a good show,
walking with your head on a pike, looking hurt but avenged,
lifting eyes full of pride, crying with your handkerchief
up to your nose as if you are breathing in the fresh
scent of a white rose you hold. That's during the day,
in the light, but at night you're a different animal.
You don't touch me, save for the wine glass you suck more
tenderly than my manhood. How people would laugh
if they only knew. Whore/wife, I had to do it, see? For how could
I have done otherwise and still hold my head high
among the white people, like one must hold his head above water
to stay alive? Or die from shame. I could never have been bested
by these savages, these niggers who swam with you and slid
up your back on their surf boards, taking the waves to shore.
They could never be above or equal to us,
so why do you mourn what I did in your nightly pleadings?
"Why?" you ask, "why?" I did it for you, Thalia, for you.
You think I went too far. You hate me for it, don't you?
I can see it in your eyes.