To A Story

We’d become friends after I rented the empty studio
          behind her redwood house in Tiburon

As soon as she asked if I was good with my hands
          I understood she had a few things

That might need fixing around the place including
          her Jag convertible an old ’54 XK120

Aged to a dull bullet-silver by the salty Bay air
          the walnut dash framing those twin

Disks of its black gauges      speedometer & tach
          & you know there’s nothing I love

Like an elegant restoration in loving progress
          —stop giving me that look—

Her ex-husband Edison had even left a few berets
          in the closet hung above his oil paints

& I loved that old studio its raw uneven redwood
          planks letting in the soft fog at night

As well as those delicate early Brahms sonatas
          she’d practice as her ritual before

Leaving on tour & then always away a month or more
          so I’d watch the place & bring in the mail

& guard her Koi pond from skinny dog-sized raccoons
          cruising up the narrow lanes at night

One morning she called out of the blue on her layover
          in Reykjavick & just started screaming

How Esquire had a story in it about her—not one of
          those devoted profiles she knew well

But a piece of actual fiction— A story about her! by Edison
          & she hated him truly

After letting him get away with endless affairs & years
          of good drugs & bad rehab she’d paid for

— & finally he’d gone too far he’d made her into
          nothing but a story & worse claimed

She’d been older than she was when they first met
          & now she was screaming so loudly

I’m pretty sure most of Iceland could hear her say
          That fucking bastard even made me

Throw out the black panties Keith Richards signed for me
          & I said Ilaria! just focus!—

Everybody knows Edison’s a liar! & then a long
          silence exquisitely cold as Reykjavik

Before I heard I am going now to catch my plane
          more silence & then      Don’t leave me