Tuesday, February 16, 2021

measure

 "Measure" is a poem about my true love, Mario, and an event that actually happened.


At the Cairo Hospital...looking at my true love.


February is a short month when
couples measure love
in strange ways:
waterfront restaurants, candle-lit dinners, long-stemmed roses,
 diamonds, proposals, making love, roaoring fires...
Measures of love, pitted against
each other, their spurred talons and greased 
feathers flying. I don't want to play.


My true love doesn't do waterfront restaurants.
I once ordered Maine lobster at market price, a mistake
we've never repeated. He would never buy diamonds, 
after seeing the toil of mine labor, 
and gives me potted, living roses, not falling
for overpriced, drying flowers in cellophane.
His idea of a roaring fire is at the end of a good cigar.
But he puts the seat down, does the laundry,
and has strong arms. 

These arms 
once supported me as I
tried to act normal, plodding
up stairs in Cairo—uneven stone
steps in front of a hospital—littered
with candy wrappers. Women in black
wool hijabs looked at me, intense eyes begging 
me not to touch them. They kept hands tucked beneath 
their dresses, not outstretched to me, their figures leaning
away from my shadow as we passed. Wide-eyes, terror filled, stared 
at us, and made me think I was dying. But as we walked, his arms lifted me 
just enough for my steps to feel easier. 

Weak from blood loss, no fluid was staying inside
my eyes, my body, even my blood was sandy. We had to 
could we? stop the bleeding. I  focused everything I had 
to lean on him, his primal scent of perspiration, one hand clasped 
over mine.

So many stone steps, uneven path to healing, stones
between us and the surgeon. I had to stop twice, 
and when I cried, the women hid their faces. 
He kept whispering: “A few more steps, just
a few more steps…” And I took one up, and then two,
and neither of us knew the way, but he whispered just 
a few more steps anyway. I pleaded to stop and lie down. 
He shook his head, and didn't feel sorry for me, and the hospital 
was there, at the end of the steps, just like he said it would be.

My measure of romance will always be this:
The strength of his arms, and his whispers, leading
 me.
When my self is a weak, bleeding, staggering
thing, and the world is a bleak place with
long, stony paths, all uneven, he steadies me.
Moreover, he believes I can do it and says so.
I get there with him, one step at a time.
He knows me and walks beside me
anyway.

On steps like these,
too weak and bloodless 
to stop crying, having nothing 
left to give, he asks me for nothing
and expects nothing. He never leaves.
This is the measure of my true love’s heart.


3 comments:

  1. This was a challenging experience...God was with both of us.


    Mario

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hello
    How can I please get in torch with you!!!
    My Email:clenjjy55@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete