Saturday, July 30, 2011

Sestina for Suzanne

Suzanne has buried husband number three
and all her dearest friends have come to mourn
the pass.   The casseroles devoured, the plates
returned for future use. The widow plans
to be a model saint and stay away
from matrimony’s snare, to die to live.

For years, Suzanne has set her goal to live
within the rule of masculinity.  For three
and more have sought her hand and took away
her will to choose by her own lights.  To mourn
the passing loss of this one man, she plans
to move beyond her first  instruction--plates

and knives, crystal and linen cloths.  She plates
intent with golden hope, a wish to live
a life fulfilled where she takes charge of plans
and determines each move she'll make.   Her three
resolves are not to whine, nor cry, nor mourn
the passing loss of former self.   Away

she says to seal intentions plot, away!
In days to come, she drops her coins in plates
from church to  church while some devout still mourn,
and others celebrate the mass of live
and die hedonistically.  Of three
new aims--to go, to see, to do--her plans.
Art galleries, plays, and symphonies, the plans
were carefully made to spirit self away.
To Asia, Africa, Australia--on  three
large continents, her photographic plates
record the camels, pandas, kangaroos—all live
evidence of cultural life for which to mourn

if lost to modern man.  She would not mourn
the loss of her own dignity.  New plans
she made to snorkel seas for fish that live
in freedom’s coves, to bungee jump away
from heights unknown, to carve her name in plates
of stone—to do, to see, to go—these three.

One day mid-mourn, she met a man.  Away
she threw the plans requiring license plates.
To live, number four was better than three.

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