Louise Gluck




Siren

I became a criminal when I fell in love.
Before that I was a waitress.

I didn't want to go to Chicago with you.
I wanted to marry you, I wanted
your wife to suffer.

I wanted her life to be like a play
in which all the parts are sad parts.

Does a good person
think this way? I deserve

credit for my courage—

I sat in the dark on your front porch.
Everything was clear to me:
if your wife wouldn't let you go
that proved she didn't love you.
If she loved you
wouldn't she want you happy?

I think now
if I felt less I would be
a better person. I was
a good waitress.
I could carry eight drinks.

I used to tell you my dreams.
Last night I saw a woman sitting in a dark bus—
in the dream, she's weeping, the bus she's on
is moving away. With one hand
she's waving; the other strokes
an egg carton full of babies.

The dream doesn't rescue the maiden.