February 27, 2019

Alan C. Fox

OLD TIMES ON MAUI

Old times are the best.
Aren’t they?
Old times rinse the fog of pain,
expose the pleasure, shining down
like sunlight from a star.

An old woman waits in front of a house
in which we both lived years ago, ’til
one thing led, ’til she pushed and I fell, naked,
to our bedroom floor, a swelling on my head.
But she only knows bruises of her own,

and she is wont to disremember,
remaining beautiful, dressed in her best,
which has seen its day, not yet descended
to shabbiness, to “Weren’t you someone once?”
I watch her stand and stare. She was my wife.

She gazes up at windows
through which we viewed the sea.
She pictures the outside bath
where we once cleansed ourselves;
she wonders who bathes there now.

A tear forms in one eye.
She brushes back her hair.
Still tough, she will not cry,
but allows herself to love …
briefly, before she turns away.

I need to tell this story
in a slightly different way.
She does not stand before this house.
Old times are the best. Aren’t they?
She is me.

from Rattle #62, Winter 2018

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Alan C. Fox: “I especially enjoy the challenge of shifting the whole perception of a poem in the final line. ‘Old Times on Maui’ qualifies. No matter whose eyes we say we are looking through, those eyes always turn out to be our own.” (web)

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