Sunday, July 18, 2010

Loula-Mae and Me

When I stand barefoot in the kitchen
I am Loula-Mae, the floorboards cool
Beneath my soles. My hands upon my hips I gaze
Through smudgy glass to see the lithesome girls
Swing down the street in little skirts and sandals
Shrugging and laughing at
The neighbor’s boys who
Stalk them twenty yards until
They run off down the hill.
Their treble voices laugh and shout and birds
Fly past, a lizard on the wall
Ignores them all, and I am
Loula-Mae who shucks the corn
And from the white jug drinks a draught
Of watermelon juice. Yes, I am me,
And praise the Lord, I can
Transform to other lives.

When I lie with my feet up on my bed
I’m Lydia, the lady on the hill
Who dozes in the summer afternoon
Reading the letters from her sailor spouse
Sighing and longing for her days to change
Into a voyage unbeset by storms,
A lifetime cruise where she can lie and dream
And slender men in captain’s caps bring juleps on a tray.
And then
She dances, slowly, all the night
Bathed by the ocean moon.

When I am waking in the early light
That’s when I cry my prayers,
For I am facing facts and bills and absence,
Abstinence and buffets of
The freakish wind and shoeless fears
The future day may bring;
And so I wake as Leah, and I pray:
“No, do not fear, because the smiting of the fates,
The sudden fall
Into the abyss, and the curse
That falls upon you will become
As nothing; you’ll survive, for God
Invisible has borne you on
His shoulders until now
And will until your hair is moonlit white,
My Lehlele,” He says. And so I rise
And bless the day but long for night
When I can be the lady on her bed
Or Loula-Mae the barefoot without cares,
Her breezes balmy and the air
Clamoring with children’s calls and birds
Mocking me laughing as I drink
A long draught of the dreaming juice
And float another life.

Linda Hepner
7.17.10 10pm