1. Floodlights

    For Muriel, who is brilliant and witty and kind and at all times more wonderful than she knows. Many happy returns of the day!

    ** * ** * ** * ** * ** * ** *

    Watching you from the wings, I know what I’ve done, and I don’t mind because it’s the truth, what I said: we aren’t together, and Friday nights seem to stare off into limitless space

    the way I would if I were standing on the edge of a cliff at night, a sheer drop into stars, the wilds of ridiculous wastes of sand, each star not you.

    Or else this: the way you look over the edge of the stage into the dark, the floodlights blinding you, your voice reaching out, honey, past everything you can’t see, while everything that’s coming is black on black.

    But alone in your spotlight, all black and pink and not crying and that honey-crystal voice, you look back at me. You can’t see any of the others, looking over the sheer cliff of stage into starry space; you can feel the heat of the lights, and feel me waiting. I don’t always know waiting for what.

    But I feel the pull of you, when you sing;

    sometimes I think you’ve gone out, far into the dark, without me; but you’re here, and I hear your voice in the dark;

    Santana. While you can, turn toward me in the dark.