“One Last Poem for Richard” – Sandra Cisneros
December 24th and we’re through again.
This time for good I know because I didn’t
throw you out — and anyway we waved.
No shoes. No angry doors.
We folded clothes and went
our separate ways.
You left behind that flannel shirt
of yours I liked but remembered to take
your toothbrush. Where are you tonight?
Richard, it’s Christmas Eve again
and old ghosts come back home.
I’m sitting by the Christmas tree
wondering where did we go wrong.
Okay, we didn’t work, and all
memories to tell you the truth aren’t good.
But sometimes there were good times.
Love was good. I loved your crooked sleep
beside me and never dreamed afraid.
There should be stars for great wars
like ours. There ought to be awards
and plenty of champagne for the survivors.
After all the years of degradations,
the several holidays of failure,
there should be something
to commemorate the pain.
Someday we’ll forget that great Brazil disaster.
Till then, Richard, I wish you well.
I wish you love affairs and plenty of hot water,
and women kinder than I treated you.
I forget the reason, but I loved you once,
Maybe in this season, drunk
and sentimental, I’m willing to admit
a part of me, crazed and kamikaze,
ripe for anarchy, loves still.
Sandra Cisneros is in a direct line from
Elizabeth Barrett Browning, you’ll note,
from the Romantic Age through to the
XXlst-Century emancipation and
independence of women, Elizabeth could
never ‘ve so cavalierly abandoned a lover
in fiction, much less fact, in the Romantic
Age, not to mention two, or three, maybe
even, gallants, any more being, of course,
unthinkable, without dire consequences,
often suicide, see Anna Karenina, Madame
Bovary, the lot, for details, Violetta Valéry
in “La Traviata”
what remains however is the stark,
emotionally driven truth of their
declarations before either of
the Romantic ideal still burns bright, in
other words, in our cultural imagination,
see even my own derivations