WHEN CHARLEY SAYS GOODBYE
His words hit rat-a-tat at my heart
I can write him into the biography
of want that started in the third grade
when David R. did not return my
valentine, how I saw it later curled
up on the floor next to the trash.
Back then, there was always Dion
on the radio, that turned later into
the Beatles, that turned into the Who.
Album to cassette to CD, but funny
how hurt never grew up, never went
adult, easy listening and background.
How when I look straight at Charley,
I can’t help but also see David R.,
my heart still a valentine, hurt-riddled
and curled. Also funny how if Charley
were to turn himself backwards, the way
we played the album in reverse to find
proof that Paul was dead. If Charley
were to turn back time like that, tell
me he’s sorry, he didn’t mean it,
I would most likely believe.
Francine Witte’s poetry and fiction have appeared in Smokelong Quarterly, Wigleaf, Mid-American Review, and Passages North. Her latest books are Dressed All Wrong for This (Blue Light Press), The Way of the Wind (AdHoc Fiction), and The Theory of Flesh (Kelsay Books). She is flash fiction editor for Flash Boulevard and The South Florida Poetry Journal. Her chapbook, The Cake, The Smoke, The Moon (flash fiction) was published by ELJ Editions in September, 2021. She lives in NYC.