Friday, February 15, 2008

A picture from last year and a poem from this.

Valentine's evening - a poem.

Yesterday, I had left early
from work. The usual routine, the usual commute.
the ferry to Staten Island, train after and then drive home.
I read the Times,
hoping to hone
a newly found liberal jingosim.
Maybe it was the elections.

Two women sat adjacent to me,
one of them familiar,
a commute friend, as some would characterize,
good for the commute,
strangers at the car park.
She was thirtysh and full of make up.
The other, a dark haired older woman
sat eating her gram crackers.
The plastic pouch dangling
from one hand and
a tiny vial of nail protector in the other.

We got talking, I rarely do
but this was an unexpected early trip home.
I was feeling good.

My commute friend told me how she was going home
to her husband
then planning on validating Valentines at Red Lobsters.
She said ‘celebrate’ Valentine’s, but it seemed more like validation.
She had two children, one one and the other three years old.
They were planning on taking them along to dinner.
She said it would be a riot,
trying to get them to sit still
while they fight with the lobster,
bib, nutcracker, white meat and all.
She showed us pictures of her children,
beautiful, Anglo Saxon to the hilt.

The dark haired lady launched into her own story,
said she also has two children.
12 and 22.
Said she had the first when she was 13.
I said going out for Valentine’s should be easy for you,
the children will mind themselves.
She did not say anything to that.
I make for poor small talk...

She said that last Valentine’s,
her husband had pink rose petals
all over the floor
when she got home.
It made her cry.
She showed us pictures of her husband,
and a couple of grown up children.
The stereotypical middle class suburban black family.
I thought.
I did not really carry pictures in my wallet.
I made a mental note to do so,
not too sure why I did that.

Somehow I felt, all of this
was a bit too melodramatic.
I did not believe in a Valentine’s day
and was not really expecting to deliver Valentine plans
with a couple of women on the way home.
I sat on though, listening politely.

The ferry was nearing Staten Island and
with a final bit of polite banter
I asked
the lady with the dark hair,
her plans for this day.
She said that her husband died six months back,
he was a veteran of the Vietnam wars,
20 years her senior.
Leukemia it was.
It was lonely,
she said.
Especially on days like these.
She was planning on going
to the Calverton National Cemetery on Long Island
the next day.
She had taken the day off.
She said, she did get roses from Costco.
Red ones.

2 comments:

Sujith said...

I liked the poem, that photos was taken last year when you visited the culinary institute of america, it was taken at the vanderbilt mansion if i am right

Sindhu Gangadharan said...

Petz nice but sad poem..sorry for the lady who had lost her partner...
Sindhu.