Late Elegy for Charlotte
You were about to sail the Seine.
I said adieu, adieu.
wearing one of six frowns I had invented
I retreated into The Stranger:
It is better to burn than disappear.
The weather was
on fire in Fez,
Camus was dead.
Our 19th summer: the waiter at Le Café Aztec is wearing a hairnet,
his hair black as the Mediterranean
quilted by fishing nets.
We rolled our hair into French knots embalmed in Aqua Net,
donned naughty dresses from Gallerie Lafayette (where
you smirked at the toilet seat protectors for
the cleanest asses in town)
and wore lipstick named Ho Chi Minh Red.
The moon in those days—damp, white, full
as a cut radish.
I was in love with you–Charlotte
girl named for a dessert
that was named for an empress.
From where you are among the dead
whatever became of–
After awhile you get used to anything.
I hauled in the long banners of
the women’s wind blown hair
erased that city –a feverish opal of rain and lamps–
until you were gone.
I wept too much.
Every moon was atrocious.
Every sun was bitter.