Treasure Island

Liilia Talts Morrison

(August 20,1937 / Estonia)

Sleeping with a Possum

His parties were well attended. Why not?
The mansion of flagstone, couched in marble and granite
Was the talk of the Cape. Italy, did the columns come from Italy?

After a lovely chat on the balcony behind tall French doors
He took me to his wing.
Who would not make love on golden satin sheets,
Porcelain angels amid flowers entwined around tall posts of the bed?

“Darling, I have a little surprise for you, ” he said.
His voice and smile so warm, I couldn’t wait.
“Darling, let’s share all this with Sofia, let’s do.”
He turned to pick up an ivory phone trimmed with gold.

My Cointreau-sodden mind suddenly cleared Into stark sobriety.
“Darling, ” I said, hoping my lips wouldn’t quake.
“I must wash up.”

It was quite easy to find the garden.
Glass doors and arches opened to all sides.
Running barefoot amid Bushes and decorated tiles
I found an old shack hidden under a grotto of trees.

I couldn’t find a door but climbed through a window without glass.
Spotting a small cot in the corner I collapsed on it with relief.
The sharp spines of hay dug into my sides. (I was wearing organza.)

My heart pounded loudly but not loud enough
To not hear a small, faint breathing.
Lights from the party filtered into this place
Just enough for me to see
The little injured possum lying next to me.

I’m fifty-two years old now. I was twenty-one then.
Visiting from Florida I happened to be near the Cape.
I decided to return “to the scene of the crime.”

My heart pounded as my car neared the area.
I was wearing a white wide brimmed hat
And piled my hair under it.
My flowing blond hair would be a dead giveaway.
He’d be around seventy by now.

The homes became more and more opulent
As I drove down the seashore. And then I saw it.
A little shack standing like a lone sentinel by the ocean.

There were no grottoes and no flagstone walls
No columns brought from Italy.
It was just a barren bit of land
With a little shack to shelter injured animals.

Submitted: Sunday, April 15, 2007
Edited: Tuesday, February 15, 2011

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