Posted by: facetothewind | November 21, 2003

Seeing Jasper's Wife and Child

Sighting of Jasper’s Wife and Child on 11/21/03 at University of Arizona

In line at the cafeteria I order a sandwich
everything on it.
No onions, please.
Then I see them.
A Chinese woman with a young boy
The faces seem so familiar
Where have I seen them?

She buys him a soda and corn chips
Suddenly I know the faces
from a stack of photos from Las Vegas:
Family pictures from a family vacation
Shown to me one naked afternoon

Woman and child in front of fake Eiffel Towers
Woman and child in front of fake Pyramids
Trying to smile
I try now myself.
This is the woman and child of my lover.
My body turns hot and cold at the same time
What if she hears my thoughts?
What if she knew?

I want to touch and comfort her.
I have known kisses wet with the truth she cannot know
We share the same man – yet she does not know
I know the places on his body that make him squeal
You have the legal rights
And I have the keys

Child of my lover.
You may never know me.
And yet I know you.
I know that face.
I have watched that same face wrinkle with pleasure on afternoons stolen from you.
I have looked into those same drunken eyes begging for you to keep them open when we kiss.
That same head arched back like yours now, as you drink from a soda can
I know the soft caress of your hair
I know the soft, smooth brown of your skin
I know that child in your father.
Like I know that man in you.
I know far too much and you know nothing.
God I feel sad.

And now you sit across from me in a cold cafeteria.
Your mother seems heavy.
Alone with a child where is her man?
I want to tell you both that you are not to blame
How could you have known?

I cannot reach across the divide
Of a thousand years of hatred
To tell you that you are not wrong
You are the artifacts of hate
And a culture gone wrong
For something so simple as love
Has no future for any of us.

And so I sit across from you both
silently watching you eat
Knowing that we share more than not
The loneliness of a life with our man
so very far away.

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