by Jeanetta Calhoun Mish

He prayeth best who loveth best.—Coleridge

This then, is my crime: I have loved often,
but not well. I’ve left lovers out of aggravation,
stashed their shiny offerings like a magpie,
ran far ahead while they limped along,
purple stone bruises on their calloused heels.
I punked one paramour at a Christmas ball,
eloping with his best friend. Squandered
another’s retirement fund on a long-shot horse.

I convinced several lovers I had
Aubergine Syndrome which left me
entirely unable to be faithful above sea level,
or, if in New Orleans, below. I hooked up
with my partners’ party guests during desert,
raided lovers’ secrets like a hawk in a dovecote,
sold them all on the theory I’d stick around forever.

Left them all without a hope and me
without a prayer.


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