Home > Poetry > To Angelina from Nikos in His Old Age
Published: Mon Oct 15 2001
Eva Lundsager, Were now like (detail), 2021, oil on canvas
To Angelina from Nikos in His Old Age

The time comes, Angelina, and the day’s blinking.
No sleeping around, no mother,
nothing interesting about the weather.
We played hooky a lot and made gossip.
But I thought you liked it, cheating on Nisseem
who became emperor of coffee—
             how’d he do it!
He was loaded, I was good in bed.
You got your rich husband,
and for years my cock.
You fussed over the time I
sprayed your new lilac dress twice in a row.
I loved your thick hair shaking
at the sink as you rinsed your dress.
My husband, you screeched,
             he will kill me he will sniff this he
             will chase me out with the dog!

Boy was I a nut.
You at thirty, I forty-five,
and Sonia my wife. If she caught the slightest cold,
             they said, You poor angelic sufferer,
             that lousy rat Nikos slept with gorgeous whores.

Pow pow what a lawsuit.
Come on, Lina, we have cheering up to do.
Do the calculus. I’m eighty, you’re a luscious sixty-five,
             church pillar,
voluptuous benefactor you are practically the Pope.
You think I’ll stain your reputation.
             Lina little closer I want to breathe you.
You’re gray? So’m I,
             nobody’s looking.
This is Trinidad. We were the left margin of Spain.
It is evening and I have no money.
Once I was great and you wanted me.
I surrender; I wanted you more.
Nevermind Althea, nevermind Lucky
from Kuala Lumpur,
the Americans were just a lark, topless—
what could I do?

You were a woman. Forgive me I didn’t tell you,
you were my spark, your lowcut bodice.
Don’t rant at me later if I wink at you in church.
I, a Portuguese, wanted to claim Cervantes,
so all my life I rode my horse.

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Reetika Vazirani was born in India in 1962 and immigrated to the United States when she was six years old. After receiving her MFA as a Hoyns Fellow at the University of Virginia, she moved to Trenton, New Jersey, where she lived with her son, also the child of poet Yusef Komunyakaa. In 2003, she took her own life and the life of her son. Vazirani published two collections of poetry during her lifetime, and the posthumous Radha Says was released in 2009 by Drunken Boat Media. (updated 6/2010)

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