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Sample Poems by Alison Pelegrin


I’m Gonna Leave You, Chère

Woman, one morning
you’ll open your eyes
and sweetest Pierre
will be gone—no goodbye.

I’ll be in my pirogue
out at the spot
where I hooked the fattest
bass I ever caught.

I’ll spend the day fishing
and drinking my beer
without ever wishing
I’d brung you out here.

Nighttime I’ll dock where
the lake meets the river
and dance at Tin Lizzy’s
and find a new lover.

I said I was going—
don’t make the mistake
of thinking I’ll listen
to excuses you make:

Pierre, Pierre,
don’t leave today—
what about the fiddle
you love to play?

What about the hound dog
asleep in the yard?
Your children? Your house?
Is loving us so hard?

Pierre, come back, baby,
I’m losing my mind.
Who’s going to warm
this pear of mine?


Don’t try to trick me—
I’ll never come back.
Another night with you
I’ll have a heart attack.

Don’t lift your skirt up
and dance in your slip.
Don’t try to kiss me
with your voodoo lips.

My dog doesn’t love me—
you trained him to bark
at my fiddle and my footsteps
when I come home past dark.

And sex? You’re pretending
or my name ain’t Pierre—
I know what would happen
if I touched you down there.

I told you one morning
you’d open your eyes
to find sweet Pierre
had done left you. Goodbye.

 


What The Highwayman Meant To Tell Her At The Nite Lite Motel

Eunice—I’m ready four you. Come and find me—J.
That’s how it starts—the note written on a grocery bag
and pinned under the wipers of my car. I don’t know
who Eunice is, or J., but I suppose he’s one of the men
paving freeway on down to the Gulf Coast casinos.
Of all the men holding signs, painting stripes, resting
on yellow machines in the shade, which one is he?
Which one thought of her while he choked on steaming asphalt,
his arms two-toned as though he’d stained them
reaching into muddy water to bait a run of traps?

Whoever he is, what does he know about Eunice
to write this note and leave it on the wrong damn car?
She must have come far to see him—left the kids
at her mom’s and packed all her shiny panties in a bag.
All those miles, and she won’t know how J. smells tar
when he eats, how he says even though mosquitoes
flurry like snow around the streetlamps
there’s no such thing as a cold drink in this heat.
Welcome to the Nite Lite Motel, where coffee is free
and the pillows smell like other people.

I know the kind of sex she thinks she’s traveled to—
an eclipse of paisley curtain and polyester spread,
wine from a Dixie cup—as close as you come to romance
when the bed bumps the wall. But Eunice is alone tonight,
convinced she’s a signal the truckers ignore.
It’s her and a bible in the room.
She must be a fool.
I could have tried harder to find her, but I showered
and sat in bed waiting for a knock at the door
even though nobody knew to come looking.