Elena, 1994

Elena was someone’s daughter,
sixteen or maybe older.
She came for one night only.
I didn’t write her face,
just her hair: short slick black.

Down in the Cafe Sport theatre
among the smoke and poets
she spoke the wish of a martyr
in words of wisps of a zephyr,
like a brush of palest pink.

But she sang like a purple bruise
with a tone like a tearing breadknife.
That’s what I wrote.
And she sang in a voice like Bob Dylan
made it with Sinead O’Connor
(perish the thought).

She didn’t know how we’d take it.
We liked it. She didn’t believe us.

Elena was someone’s daughter.
I wrote her down to remember.
We were down in the Cafe Sport theatre.
It isn’t there anymore.
Nothing is, around here.