Charity Case



Yucca in Yucatan lances the wind
And faded fuchsia shacks litter the beach.
The days reel out like fishing lines in the surf.

And the sea waves rush on in like the blink
Of an autistic child who sees between
The folds of time, unable to make mistakes.

Outside my bungalow, the sun is white
Like the eyes of children wanting to pour
Into one’s pockets, saying, “Take me with.”

Thick with a hangover, the hunt begins
For a half-cold beer from the late model
Frigidaire. It’s bone-rattling sound

Made me think affection part of the plan;
But love is like most things in this country,
Better for the bargain the more one has . . .

So to be honest, I came down to serve
My lust first and the poor, who of course can
Afford American lust least, last.

We met at a party for professors,
Your husband among them, and my wife. You said
“You must come see my Mexican orphanage!

“You die just to feel good about these kids!”
And then some noise about core values and
Transcending parochial perspectives.

The first time we slept together I blamed
“The emotional moment.” The second time,
You reasoned sense into it, convenient

In equation. But the last time, as you
Put your clothes back on, I reached out to you
And, sitting up in bed, I said, “I love-”

You worked at your make up and fixed your hair,
The mirror hid your frigid smile, and surf
Grew silent at my door – which slammed so hard

Loose change rattled on the room’s one nightstand.