She Used to Say

images-1

                  She Used to Say

“How many loves, Senora?” she used to say.
“Perhaps twenty,” I  would tell her.
I was forty when I married,
and I had traveled the world.

She had married at fifteen
and was a mother at sixteen.
By twenty-six, she was a mother of five.

When he drank cerveza,
he had beaten her.
She had not missed him when he left.

No more men, her children had demanded
and she’d agreed,
for the young man from El Chante who courted her now
was handsome and had money
but was not in her heart.

Still, I could see her pining
over the tall Arab
who hired the men of her pueblo.

He neither looked at her nor talked to her.
But in the night, I imagine she pined,
Arabian nights unreeling in her imagination
impossible and foreign.

One day, returning early,
I found her asleep on the divan,
a Mexican novella
rolling out of the television
into the eyeless air.

What futile dreams superseded
all these vicarious heartaches?
What magnolia-scented air
slumbered heavy in the hot layers of her sleep?

“How many loves?” she had asked me
on the road home from Guadalajara.
“Oh, many loves, “ I told her.
“I was forty when I married,
and I had traveled the world.”

 

For dVerse Poets Pub Open Link Night

20 thoughts on “She Used to Say

  1. lillian

    This conversation and delving into personalities is one of the most interesting posts for OLN today.
    “What futile dreams superceded
    all these vicarious heartaches?
    What magnolia-scented air
    slumbered heavy in the hot layers of her sleep?”
    I particularly liked these lines….the last two of the lines here are visceral.

    Like

    Reply
  2. kim881

    I love the use of contrast in this poem, Judy, and the exploration of the curiosity human beings have about each other. How sad that she had to wait for her husband to leave her, rather then having the means to leave him and find a better life for herself and the children, and only dreaming about the man of her dreams, so beautifully surmised in the lines:
    ‘What magnolia-scented air
    slumbered heavy in the hot layers of her sleep?’

    Like

    Reply
    1. lifelessons Post author

      She actually did eventually leave her children with her sister and went to the U.S. She came back, though. Our ending was very bad and made me sad for a long time. Another story untold at present.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  3. Gina

    I am reminded of the sing by Charlene – I’ve been to paradise but never been to me”, I felt she saw her value in the men she met and inquired of other women the same. a powerful poem.

    Like

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.