“Passion or conquest, wander where they will,
Attend upon them still.”
—W. B. Yeats, “The Wild Swans at Coole”
In today’s paper, an obituary for a scholar
who’d once taught in our midst— he died
Sunday, nearly two weeks to the day his wife
passed, just a few days after the new year. I knew
who they were but didn’t really know them:
might have seen them at the local coffee shop,
reading the news and eating toasted bagels; or
walking past the laundromat, melting into
the crowd of couples out for brunch. I’d never
thought too much about what it might be like to grow
old alone, or lonely; had more than once declared
that travel solo might be the better way to go—
no expectations, no one to have to pick up for
or after, no epics to endure and survive for dubious
reward (roots like mangroves’ anchored
in marshy soil… ) But even when the narrative’s over,
when the loggers have loaded up the rig and rolled
out of town (inaudible hush, low clouds
suspended above the highway), something in the air
will shimmer, something will always catch.
I stick an arm out, and white motes dot my sleeve.
I lean my forehead on the windowpane and feel my
bindings loosen. I want to hear the air puffed out
the sides of a bandoneon, to master the tangled
slide of paired legs across a polished floor.
—Luisa A. Igloria
In response to today’s Morning Porch entry.