The Merry-Go-Round

On the phone he and she went round and

round hour after hour while a radio blared

the syncopated sounds of Doo-Wop,

a quivering heart winning or losing,

ready to die for lack of love; the falsetto

voice of Little Anthony, the Flamingos,

Platters and Temptations all pleading

for love to find a way: Yakety-Yak,

Don’t Talk Back; I Love you, now get out!

They were weeping and gnashing,

riding a demonic carousel of passion

and promises, reaching for each other,

clashing in a doomed cycle of

breaking-up and making-up.

She, lost in a long black fog of night

after the poles of her chupah splintered,

collapsing like pick-up-sticks, was

mired in the quicksand of shattered

pride, still smarting from what felt

like a sharp slap across the face.

He was on a rescue mission, smitten

as never before singing only one tune:

Bei mir bist du schein…

While he waited for a resounding YES,

she feared fiery omens, portents of misfortune.

She searched for esoteric signs from Tarot cards,

tea leaves and the divinity of the stars in a quest

for Who wrote the book Of love?

Riding together on a Staten Island Ferry one

fine autumn afternoon, he was in despair

waiting for an affirmation from his beguiling

star. The foaming swell of the ferry’s wake

began to look inviting when a sudden

luminous sun-shower cleansed the air leaving

a rainbow arcing over Ellis Island where

her parents had once arrived.

That’s it she cried! The omen she’d been waiting

for, - they could now be safely betrothed for ever more.

Fifty years later on a Valentine card she wrote: “My

deepest appreciation for your unflagging love, for

giving me a life, I who hesitated to become your wife.”

M.P. Ehrlich