Andrew Rooney

I will not say I hated driving all over town
          to find the STD clinic today;
I will not say I deplored being stuck with a needle
          because it’s one of my least favorite things in life;
I will not say I was disturbed when he asked
          if I’d had gay anal sex and injected myself with methamphetamines;
I will not say I was reluctant when he enquired about my use of condoms
          and what percentage of the time;
And I will not say I was taken aback when he asked about oral sex
          and whether it was mutual.
 
No I couldn’t possibly ever say those kinds of things
          because you’re married and a preacher’s girl from North Carolina
          and I’m an old Buddhist.
 
I’ll also never say how frustrating it is having this cat-and-mouse relationship
          that looks like a non;
I have put the kibosh on saying that waiting for you
          and your husband to arrive at a decision
          feels like I’m in high school and listening to Lou Christie;
I won’t say, for instance, that your calling from upstairs
          when everyone is downstairs, or vice versa,
          feels like an Alfred Hitchcock movie;
I for one will not say that writing emails to me with your husband next to you
          sounds like international intrigue
          and I expect to be arrested by Interpol soon;
And, finally, I will not say that I cursed you (and then recited metta)
          when I sat in Denver Health’s declining lobby,
          holding anonymous number 38,
          like in a busy ice cream store or for a driver’s license,
          or when I accidentally missed the cup
          for the chlamydia and gonorrhea test,
          or when they showed me the big bowl of condoms,
          like peppermint candies,
          on the way out,
          and asked me to help myself.
 
No I won’t say any of that because I’m mindful of how sensitive and Southern you are,
          that the tests were important to you,
          and that things will sort themselves out,
          but we’ve seen the previews.
 
*palinode
(pălə-nōd’) n. A poem in which the author retracts something said in a previous poem. A formal statement of retraction.