If on a winter’s night a traveller

She heard me say
“Queen of Denial,”
but I meant the other one.1
I had tried like a Penzancian pirate2
or enfogged, noir, Chandlerian3
to insert myself as
a credible suitor
for naught; my whisper,
apparently, a mumble.

Sine dubio,4 as Cicero
would have averred5
yet erred,
Los Corazones,6 mine and hers,
should someday be entwined.

Perhaps this was
an Occidental7 mistake
to try, like soulmates,
seulement 8 to belong singly
yet doubly,
as if the alternative
to having not,9 nor holding,
were to live half a life.

Clearly, her name —
Coral “Sidewinder” King10
should have warned me off,
but my double-minded heart
would turn and turn again:11
a dog’s vomit
the only parting/party gift.12

1 Cleopatra
2 with catlike tread
3 mysterious
4 without doubt
5 claimed
,6 the hearts
7 of the Western world
8 only
9 to have
10 snakes
11 return
12 the favor

© 2021, 2024; first appeared in print in Carolina Muse Vol. III No. II, June 2023

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