AA Story

Across a hundred rooms with kiddie chairs,
Throughout a hundred mumbled AA prayers,
I wondered if your hugs were chaste as theirs,
Or tighter, closer?

You told your story once:  old wealth, Tulane,
Those clubby breakfasts at The Pontchartrain,
Then begging on the beach for pocket change
In Pensacola.

Some nights we wound up partners, playing cards
In coffee shops we hung out in like bars.
You never knew if diamonds outranked hearts
Or hearts beat diamonds.

And once, because my car was in the shop,
You said you’d pick me up and drop me off.
You leaned so close to me, your breath felt hot
On my bare shoulder.

Who would have guessed we two would fall in love,
Or last until Katrina screwed it up?
Eleven years, three parents gone to dust,
And us still sober.

And now the time apart begins again,
Like film run backward, or a repetend
From fixed poetic form, and in our end
Is our beginning.

by Julie Kane