||Jean-Michel Basquiat: His Things
Closet filled with thousand-dollar suits
splattered with paint. Charlie Parker in a box
(Bird Lives!) and on the canvas. Ali, Jack Johnson
and a crown. Nightmare
Recordings audio, video and books on art. Antique
toys (A broken horse, hand-painted spinning top
djembes and mbiras (thumb pianos)
four horns from Mozambique. Erector set. Tangle of blonde hair
(His jazz was in the Dumpster
along with the Directors chair)
A punched-through window, captioned
The Young Widower
Words never seem to fit around
my love. Baggy, a trashy overcoat draping
narrow shoulders, or too tight, straining love,
twisting it to shapes sharper than a blow
across the face.
No one understands
the other women. Think me over her,
back on the hunt. They cant see the end of
shuffled hours lost in swift-moving hands,
the evening creeping from the room, leaving
an empty winter morning sprawled across
Our child is crying.
I cry too, inside, a city lost to never-ending
flame. I keep this to myself. I am a man.
Children do not forgive. Would not
if I filled the promised rooms of our home with
another woman. What would they think?
That I did not love her anyway?
That I want them to lose the thread of
Memory, forget her voices buttermilk
cooing them to sleep?
The youngest cries. Soon
she will wake her sister, begin a duet of tears.
I go to rock her in my too hard arms,
her small face a miniature of her mothers. Calm her
with the beating of my tattered heart, the soft hush
of rain inside my chest. Reassure her with a silence
truer than mere words.