Poetry: Carol Levin


Wild Wishes

I wished for a black tango clinging
to my thighs in a smoky Brazilian bar,
I wished to be Tosca catching
ovations of roses at the Met.
Wished to be the fire eater
in the Barnuam and Bailey.

          At eighteen Father funds
the little apartment I wish for.
Green and naive my grandiose
adventure fizzles. I dream eternal
romance, my runaway
wedding bores the justice
of the peace. I was the kid
too scared to climb trees
Mother, unconvinced wishes
I wasn’t so wild.

I read once,“Knowing what to wish for
is as elusive as the delicate
blue-green orb of Neptune rising
at sunset, a ball of hydrogen
with rings we can’t see.”

In the wishing days I’d never
have deemed today’s life a life
to long for.
Never would have wished blue sky
this serene, sea lions singing me to sleep,
children and grandchildren
at baseball yesterday, cheering
together in the pleasure
of each other’s pleasure.

Couldn’t have dreamt your clashing
clothes and shaggy beard.
You, who came to me so late, so late,
you: holding out your hand–
anytime I wish.

And Now?

About the nefarious Abbess
          Pateras, what day did she die
and where is she dead?
          Did she sneak to sleep
in the glass twin
          crypt she placed next to her
mummified daughter’s on Onousses Isle?

          And in Athens, where’s Cleo, who ran the pension
and harvested succulent nuggets of gossip to provide
          undercover evidence? Tell about the three,
scattered, brave escaped girls, now old
          now where?

And Hermeonie, master of keys and high drama
          whose heart was flawed and Yergos, her husband,
the brainy criminal lawyer who lost? How’s their weekend
          black beach villa? Their two offspring?

Where’s Joy your old alter-ego advisor? Where
          did the invisible stranger named Jody pop into
your heartbreak wagging a ring-finger, weeping?
          Will we ever finish arguing over which of the worst
was the worst worst?

O where,
          in God’s name is Karina? And where
do I fit into all this forty years from then?

I had meant to ask where are the people who,
          after reading our story, ask
about us?
          Do they say “what ever happened?”
                              –And do we chance the answer?

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