by Robert Long

Sunk in an armchair with a succession
Of vodka Martinis in water tumblers
And playing Janis Joplin's "Bye Bye Baby"
So many times the groove wore out I

Commemorated your departure
From the old farmhouse I lived in then,
The one where the bees hibernated in the front wall.
They'd appear each spring on an unexpected

Morning, in a snoozy stratum,
Thousands of them hovering in suspension
As if undecided whether to get on with it
Or to go back to sleep. This was a long time ago,

When you moved out and I moved
To the mountains, where I lived
In a state of boredom, stuck
Between sleep and animation, frozen

As in a publicity still. I can't imagine
What you look like now, how you've changed.
But I remember clearly that halftone afternoon
With Joplin rasping through the speakers

And ice clinking in the tall glass, and I remember
How the bees decided, as a mass,
To move in an enormous droning blob
Across the yard in grapefruit colored light,

Out past the barn to the fields, where the flowers
Waited. I guess bees don't really
Decide these things, but that they're decided
For them. Actually, they gave me the creeps,

Although one is supposed to enjoy such natural
Phenomena. I enjoyed other things: Martinis,
Of course, and certain slants of light
In your blue-green eyes. For a long time

I lived in the memory of that light,
In a declining landscape under a vodka-colored sky,
Even though I knew better, between that old life
And the one just around the corner.

Other Selected Poems from Blue:

Excellent Coffee Shop
Tie City
Terminal Cafe