Prufrock Villanelle

William Logan

 
BPR 49 | 2022

—Till human voices

I took the midnight bus to Jacksonville—
along the coastal highway, we broke down.
I swore off love and took another pill.

I could have chased you halfway to Brazil—
your life is never yours until you drown.
I took the midnight bus to Jacksonville,

the town that passed two laws against free will
and cargo pants that weren’t deep mocha-brown.
I needed love but still had time to kill—

I drank six beers. My tongue would not keep still.
The rougher bars lay on the edge of town.
I took the midnight bus to Jacksonville,

where on the pier, now violently ill,
I thought that mermaids were a proper noun.
I wept for love. I wrote another will.

Stark naked by the sea, I drank my fill
of straight vermouth, a king without a crown.
I took the midnight bus to Jacksonville.
I fell in love, and then things went downhill.