first draft for a happy ending

sam's beach at westerly
if this poem
were a love song,
it’d sound like Patsy Cline

on a late night out
on the corner of Broome and Mulberry,
the streets filling up with darkness

as you wrap your arms
around my red-stilettoed silence.
its only melody would be the swell

of a gray-green Atlantic
breaking on the shores from Hatteras
to Westerly, where i wrote names

in the sand. early May was once
a time for love songs, you see, but
i have generally forgotten

how they used to go. so this poem
is just a poem, though it slips
off the tongue like quicksilver,

like that lemonade
we bought from those girls
in Gale’s Ferry, a block from where

you used to live.
this poem and i, we
can appreciate the tang

of memory, its pucker & squint,
just as we do a fear of falling, as if
we were dancers

on a pole at the top of a forty-
floor walkup with one arm flung wide.
it was a dream i had, once,

but whether the pole was hope
or doubt this poem won’t say,
so i am never sure when to let

go & have never yet
learned to whistle. much less
to sing.