Never Did Say So

     

        After Dolly Parton’s To Daddy

We jumped a red-eye to France to celebrate

a decade of marriage, and I prayed

to love him as much as I loved Paris.

 

I willed myself to shine like the Seine

through the clock at the Orsay, willed myself

to stop, at least once a day, and kiss him

 

along the Champs-Élysées. I willed my body

to unfurl like an accordion in his hands, to

murmur & bellow the song of Le Marais.

 

But no matter how I unreeled the filmstrip

of the we I willed us to be, his face remained

obscured in every image, the lens trained on me.

 

Not that I said so in a language he understood.

I walked ahead and switched to French

when we deplaned, rendered him mute

 

with sentences he didn’t ask me to translate—

Sil vous plait, pouvez-vous nous aider?

Nous sommes perdus.   

 

He believed I was fluent enough

to speak for both of us and didn’t think

to learn any words for himself.

 

Content to nod and follow, he didn’t

blame me when I got us lost on the way

to our last dinner on the  Rue de Soleil

 

because the driver had heard Rue Désolée

and drove the wrong way across town, an irony

that encapsulated our lives—the two of us

 

stuck in a moving vehicle, miles between

sunny and sorry, a mistake that tripled

our fare and cost much more than we dreamed.

 

I apologized, but he laughed because France

still ran on Francs and he still had enough

patience to forgive me anything. I nodded

 

when the driver offered to appease us

with un peu de musique américain and slid

Dolly Parton’s Greatest Hits into the cassette deck.

 

My husband took my hand then, and confessed

how relieved he was to know the words,

how happy he was to be going home.

 

Such a good omen, he said, but he wasn’t listening.

No omen, was Dolly, but an oracle, a prophecy

sent for me, a warning about the fate of a woman

 

who never did speak of what she felt, who faked

her grin and forgot her face, who willed herself to love

the noose of her wedding ring. The last verse

 

told of everything she never said to those she fled—

how her longing was vaster than silence, how she bolted

the door behind her, how she never did say goodbye. 

Caridad Moro-Gronlier.jpg

Caridad Moro-Gronlier

Pronouns: She/Her

1 Poem

Never Did Say So

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Caridad Moro-Gronlier (she/her) is the author of Tortillera (Texas Review Press, 2021) and the chapbook Visionware (Finishing Line Press 2009). She is an Editor of Grabbed: Writers Respond to Sexual Assault (Beacon Press 2020) and Associate Editor for SWWIM Every Day. Moro-Gronlier is the recipient of an Elizabeth George Foundation Grant and a Florida Fellowship in poetry. Her work has been nominated for two Pushcart Prizes, Best of the Net and two Lambda Literary Awards.

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