old romantic places
her eyelids flutter like butterflys, & from her lips
scotched honey drips. sure it’s cliché, but it’s the
practiced skills of every doll who can take a man
quickly to heaven, & quicker to hell…
funny thing about Lill: every time I figured I was over her
for good, & my heart would be made stronger in the
stricken places, she fell into my life again.
we came from the same dismal back streets in the
break-you-down city. even in her teens, she got a rep as a
six-mile whore, although I never saw her with a man. once
at a dance, ‘Treat Me Like a Fool’ busted thru the speakers,
& Lill & another girl both wanted to dance with me. I flipped
a coin & the other girl won. Lill would never dance with me
sometimes after school I’d swipe a six-pack from the Italian
grocer. we’d cut thru a gangway to a spot where an abandoned
Chevy with no windows was parked. the moon kinda hung low
in the sky only for us as we buzzed off the beer. she’d pretend
she was cold so I could put my arm around her. I guess it was
there that I fell crazy in love with her.
after high school the Army took me. I went into an olive drab
coma of fatigue uniforms & battlefield hallucinations for three
years. I didn’t hear from Lill & didn’t ask my family about her.
when I was discharged, I got married & settled into a clerical
job. a couple boring years passed. one day out of the blue Lill
called, having obtained our number from an old neighborhood
friend. she was hurting & had a short list of possible saviors;
I was the one who answered.
I began taking days off work to spend time with her. my wife
eventually figured it out & left me. we had no plan & no place
to go except down the gutter, so we figured we’d have a few drinks
on the way. our romantic spot this time was a bar with no music,
no crowd, & plenty of rot-gut whiskey. I’d move my chair so close
to her it was like one person, a hideous mix of man & woman, a
deformed caricature of love.
but Lill is a nomad, she comes & goes, still believing she’ll find that
El Dorado that will never be found. she returns to me now & then, &
sometimes it’s good, but mostly it’s not. in due course, my time with
her will end, as all things must.
I suppose I look forward to that…