( For Beryl)
In the rain walking with her again.
How remote that bare room.
In the beloved city he walks too fast
like he did fifty years gone.
His heartbeat in her underage womb
while he, excluded, walked alone
ignorant, into his battling future.
Now, two old people on this old street.
Before she told him her lonely secret
her shy presentation of photographs.
They walk, passing faces so young, sexy
like her black-and-white image.
She strokes a lucky cat, auburn hair
caressing her pale, slender neck
as he slows down for her, at fault
her breath short, heart contracted.
They agree with her parents’ decision
know they were too young in the past
that elusive time of smoke and sweat
its confounding catch-me-if-you-can.
He would walk through a ball of fire
if it took him back to what was.
Although pleased to have traced her
he grapples with the details, and grief.
The tears he sheds are tears unshed then
for the graceful girl he mourns
holding that cat to her warm belly
her smile which now he glimpses again.
He calls her gently by her maiden name
its Italian curvaceousness changed twice
now slipped back into use, revived.
They sit, rest, glad to have survived.