(About a 3 minute read)
She was raised up in a family of New World craftsmen
Whose trade of hand-rolling paper towels taught her
Early in life the importance of conscientious precision
And attention to such details as making certain
The rolls were tight but the perforations untorn.
She had shown such a fine sense of duty even as a child
That she’d still been young when the family
Entrusted her with ensuring the towel labels
Ran parallel to each roll’s edges. But a fire
Struck their shop, and within a single winter’s night,
All was lost. Too poor to recover from their tragedy,
The entire family was thrown to the streets
Where they soon shattered into individuals,
Each one homeless and alone.
I met her on the corner of Lincoln and Booth,
An unfortunate intersection if ever there was one,
But somehow suited to her frame of mind and misfortune.
She was dressed in the garb of an organ grinder’s monkey,
For she was street-wise to the fact cops
Never look too close at such innocuous sights.
And since cops are the natural enemies of homeless vagrants,
She wished to be as invisible to them as possible.
As I chatted her up, I felt as if her distressed soul
Was pouring into me from her blue-grey eyes.
I begged her tell me what remaining ghosts of dreams
For herself she still harbored somewhere
Beneath her ridiculous red vest. She was reluctant at first
But under my persistent making faces
She gradually bared her heart and confessed
She wished to become a cosmic dancer with two feet
That walked in beauty on the earth and a spirit that touched the stars.
She refused to believe me at first when I told her
I wanted to help make it all happen if only she would consent
To bear me cross-eyed children, for I have always desired
To be seen by someone as twice the man I really am.
At last she agreed it was a sensible plan, and we married
That very day. Soon, our hearts entwined and kindled,
Our love came roaring to life with a passion uncommon
To folks who are not the artists of their own lives.
At nights she would come to me dressed only in olive oil
Bearing rubber sheets and her free-spirited attitude to life.
We were like teens on prom night inseparable
Because our braces had become generously entangled;
Where she went my heart went too, and the converse as well.
The days passed as lightly as mouse farts, for nothing could burden
Or trouble the towering flames of our hearts.
In the end of course,
We grew old, but we stayed ever young to each other
By refusing the deadly sin of believing we owned one another,
And thus we were never tempted to take for granted each other,
Or see ourselves as anything less than we were on the day that we met.