Diane Wakoski

Things That Make Her Weep

the green dress, its placket fastened with pearls —
       she sewed it before she had her baby.
       she wore it when she denied she’d ever had one.
       she felt her ankles, like wings,
       and walked like a deer on delicate hooves —
       the deer they all hated because it ate the roses.
when the nasturtiums don’t sprout —
       for they are seeds like wrinkled amber brains, and
       their blossoms would have been gold, or yellow, or orange
       with smudges of red, and their petals would have tasted like
       pepper, not black but a pepperish cinnamon.
       why do flowers which are essentially garden weeds often
       seem so hard for amateur gardeners to grow? Yes, when
       the seeds didn’t sprout that summer, it was one of the
       things that made her weep.
when he touches the pulse inside her wrist —
       and strokes her with his cigar fingers and she
       knows that he is thinking of her, as if she is a child
       who needs a father wearing his uniform,
       an old sailor who has come home, despite the black sails
       raised against return
a dog, sitting upright, alone —
       his leash looped around the handlebars of a riderless
       motorcycle parked on the lawn, the dog
       waiting, not running or leading the way to the Underworld,
       as a Diamond Dog might.
a half-filled martini glass, in front of a chair, in a vacant bar —
       where the woodwork is dark as angel boots
       and the mirrors reflect bronze watchers,
       where Emily Bronte, or is it Emily Dickinson, might have
       been sitting until the moors outside beckoned.
keys she doesn’t recognize, for locks she doesn’t own —
       one of them is small as her fingernail. another is
       the length of the bread knife in the kitchen, the expensive
       one with crenellated edges. and thus she begins to think
       of baking bread, of recipes from Julia Child, of being able
       to unlock anything if she simply put on her glasses.
the perfect gold bracelet given to her by the imperfect man —
       he even had the right name, but nothing else, nothing but
       the bracelet and the name were right for her.
       it is good that she rejected him/
       it is sad that she rejected him.
the Book of Mistakes —
       where it is written that she was born with butterflies for feet,
       where it is written that she spoke to burning tygers,
       where it is written that Heathcliff loved her, even though
       she wasn’t named Cathy,
       where it is written that if her dress had been blue,
       she wouldn’t have needed to cry.