Rosary by Alinda Wasner
 
Dangling limp from the rearview mirror
The night you parked
Your battered old car
Outside the house of your new lover–
Her window jutting out over the street,
Her brazen balcony!
 
You’d tried to teach me the words
But I couldn’t believe them,
Each bead little more
Than the sly September snowflakes
That caught us off guard that year–
White lies piling up on each other
Until I was snowed under.
 
It’s been decades since I’ve been back here;
 
But today a jackhammer
Pulses in the streets of the old neighborhood,
the sunlight in shards
In the intersections
As if the same old thug has broken day’s window,
run off with whatever he could steal–valuable or not–just for the thrill
Of trying to outwit desperation.
 
And, God!, the cathedral–boarded up and silent,
flying the new,blue flag of secularism:
BANK OWNED it says,
Repossessed–
Like the heart of the wife
Whose husband always forgives her
Tho they both often wish that he wouldn’t–
And over here some dusty old reflections
In the empty shop windows, barely recognizable but still there after a too-long winter.
 
It’s too much, sometimes,these first hard-hearted days of Spring
With its punishments and retributions,
its trip wire still strung across the old pathways–
And would you believe that damn robin
Somewhere in the hedgerow
Crying “love/hate”/”hate/love”–
As if it actually believed
In confession,
In the rains of absolution?
 

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