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mary's r&b

I

mary learned to say thank you, i love you, i’m sorry
she fills each empty glass with squeezed and twisted, pitted fruit
serves each glass over the busy countertop
thank you
i love you
so suddenly moving, stretching
clear and cool
inside the hot, parched body

before mary goes home at night
she cleans up, closes up, turns out the lights
locks up
keeps the hat down low

the deposit bag is close to her body and guess who’d like to know?
somebody’s always waiting in that shadow
and mary kicks his ass and goes on home

makes her supper, calls her friends
goes to the clubs, asks the lady in red if she needs her ass kicked too?
in bed by three

next day comes, and she doesn’t bring up the morning
late for the afternoon English class
and working again by evening

she says thank you, i love you, i’m sorry
 
II

mary learned to say thank you, most sincerely, i’m sorry
fills white letterhead and fiber-optic lines with black type fonts
thank you
most sincerely
sorry
templates
printed and saved on disk
 
saves, i love you, like a bank deposit
hides i love you like a lace teddy
under the business suit
under the just-white-shirt

and when finally home, she tries the words
strange on her dry, lipstick mouth
the delicate fermentation of i love you
makes a heady red wine
perfect for dinner
even better with a lover

mary makes sticky notes to remember
the next day’s deposit and withdrawal
lest i love you become lost in white letterhead battles
 
III
 
mary learns to sing
i love you, thank you, I'm sorry
like tiny pieces of God, a god, a spirit
soft, soft and receiving, giving
against hard bodies
one voice sings with ten thousand voices heard
one voice echoes the ten thousand voices heard
each new song embedded on a r & b harmonic pad
vibrating towards the cosmic egg of sunny-side rhythm over blues

© lyw