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 choose to measure love
in the strangest ways:
“He took me to that waterfront 
restaurant for a candle-lit dinner...
... gave me long stemmed roses, 
 “...a two-carat diamond..."
 When he proposed... 
We made love in front of a roaring fire...
Measures of love, compared,
with spurred talons,
greased feathers,

I don't want to play.
Why measure love that way? 

My true love doesn't like the waterfront,
(I once ordered Maine lobster at market price), 
would never buy diamonds, not after seeing how mines
split families, broke men, abused their labor force.
He gives me potted, living roses;
("I'm not gonna fall for those overpriced, 
cellophaned roses, sentenced to death!")
His idea of a roaring fire is at the end of a good cigar.
But... he puts the seat down, replaces light bulbs,
and has strong arms. 

These arms 
once supported me,
all of my dead weight, 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, their hands 
tucked underneath their dresses, not outstretched,
Were they afraid of death? Did they think I was cursed?
leaned away from my shadow as we passed them, with his
arms around me, lifting me just enough for my steps to feel lighter. 
I couldn't help seeing the women, with wide eyes, filled with terror and 
maybe something else. They made made me believe I was dying.

Weak from blood loss, no fluid would stay, 
no water in my eyes or my body, not even blood. 
It took everything I had to hold on to my true love, 
whose primal scent of perspiration, one hand clasped 
over mine, holding me up .
We stepped up so many stone steps, the uneven path 
between us and the surgeon. I had to stop twice, 
and when I cried, the women hid their faces. 
We had to could we? stop the bleeding.


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 path, the hospital, the country,
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.
When the self is a weak, bleeding, staggering
thing, and the world is a bleak place with
long, stony paths, all uneven, he steadies me.
Even more, he believes I can do it and tells me,
and I get there with him, one step at a time.
He knows my pain 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