Marie Jani Emily & Carlos
A wind of catastrophes blew
this hollow-bellied son of a miner
onto the roof of the six-storey warehouse
across the True-Colours Art Supplies store.
His eyes ablaze he wrote her a letter,
a wretched mixture of sweet adjectives,
putting her off guard by writing her
not to be afraid
to go out with him for a drink,
he would not have any,
would put his lips only
into the calm, cool waters of her company,
admitting that he was so poor that
a burglar had left a flash-light and two addresses
on the blanket of his cot,
to improve his lot.
He also let her know that he was working as a roofer’s helper
and although a newcomer
he considered his present financial situation
temporary and as soon to improve as tomorrow,
Friday, Friday, being pay-day, would she,
would she on Saturday, after True-Colours’ closing time,
come for a tea perhaps. Please. Signed, Carlos.
He put the note under her car’s windshield wiper.
Marie Jani Emily knew of him for a week now.
Loading them onto the hoist across the street
the shingles danced in his hands;
seeing her, he juggled three brushes,
took a small bow in her direction,
his thin, aggressive face beautified by a smile.
Lean and so powerfully built he would be a presence with her in the bar
she thought, what if he is a good dancer; no one has to know about it.
“Dear Carlos”- she wrote, -” it is very nice of you to invite
me for a tea. You have the balls to write a note
not knowing the language. You might just have one hope in hell
for a date, anyway, how can you manage to smile
while lifting two bundles of shingles
at least six feet up onto the top of the pile?
All said I hope that you are as nice a company
as I think you are. I would be delighted to meet you.
Ps: Do you like to dance?”
And in her most beautiful long-hand, she signed, Marie Jani Emily. She gave her letter to the foreman
directing the clean-up of the site,
who sent it up with the next load to Carlos, who was
cleaning the troughs skirting the precipice.
Seeing the waves, the curves and rolls of the letters in her name,
and the word Dancing, (He was well known for it in his district.) he moved,
imagined one of her long hands holding his letter,
while the other reaching out for him, he thought of holding her,
took a step demanded by the dance and fell off the roof.
How would he have known that miners’ sons will always
be claimed by the world that is under.
How could he know
at age twenty-two what love can do,
what love can do.