Three people drinking out of the bottle
in the living room.
A cold rain. Quiet as a mirror.
One of the men
stuffs his handkerchief in his coat,
climbs the stairs with the girl.
The other man is left sitting
at the desk with the wine and the headache,
turning an old Ellington side
over in his mind. And over.
He held her like a saxophone
when she was his girl.
Her tongue trembling at the reed.
The man lying next to her now
thinks of another woman.
Her white breath idling
before he drove off.
He said something about a spell,
watching the snow fall on her shoulders.
crawls back into his horn,
at the approach of the wheel.
C. D. Wright, “Alla Breve Loving” from Steal Away: New and Selected Poems. Copyright © 2002 by C. D. Wright. Reprinted with the permission of Copper Canyon Press, P. O. Box 271, Port Townsend, WA 98368-0271, www.coppercanyonpress.org.
Source: Steal Away: Selected and New Poems
(Copper Canyon Press, 2002)