Joe Burns puts his arm
around my shoulder and he says marry me?
Inside my head an argument begins as if there
were two of me, one eager to say yes, the other no.
Yes, oh yes, yes, yes to becoming a Burns,
to being his mother’s daughter,
his sister’s sister--the most popular girl in the universe--
whose starlights gloss my ugliness, my poverty,
my many sins, let me walk in their beauty under
Their very own personal sunny skies.
Joe seems to hold a mirror to my face and there
They are--his sister, his mother, lovely and perfect
In their floral fabrics and he is saying,This could be you!
The path from dark to bright, from clumsy, messy
To breezy softness, to sunny glowing order.
I see a wicker chair, a woman with an armful of flowers
who looks like me trying to make the flowers
Fit nicely into the vase, but the task is too complex,
the flowers bend, fall, scatter, she begins to cry.
She is lost in this flower wicker sunroom, not being from there,
she is a pantomime, does not fit into this air.
So when Joe’s lips move toward mine, I turn my head,
And he stands up and walks away
And it’s like an elevator door has closed on me.