I read that Eddie Van Halen died and my mind immediately turned to Valerie Bertinelli, the Valerie now, the one who judges children’s baking skills—skills I’ll never have and am not too interested in having—and how sad she must be even though things didn’t quite work out between the two of them all those years ago, and I then remember how sad I was in my stomach back when I read they’d split, and how I’d thought of Valerie Bertinelli as the Valerie before back then, the one who was baby-faced as a fifteen year old on One Day At A Time but was older than that when they’d wed but still looked so young, and he’d had feathered hair and that self-made guitar that made the sound he wanted that no other guitar could do, and we all knew the split was his fault because it simply couldn’t be Valerie, and now looking back, how there was so much love there and is still so much love, and how all that love can show up in different ways, and how young love and old flames meet somewhere after altar and on a death bed and completely reconcile anything that’s still lingering, though in my mind and what is probably true is that between them nothing lingered, and between me and all the men I’ve loved or really just the one who didn’t exist and disappeared, that one will still need a moment of reckoning.
Christina M. Rau is the author of the Elgin Award-winning sci-fi fem poetry collection, Liberating The Astronauts (Aqueduct Press) and the poetry chapbooks WakeBreatheMove (Finishing Line Press) and For The Girls, I (dancing girl press). Her poetry has appeared on gallery walls in The Ekphrastic Poster Show, on car magnets for The Living Poetry Project, and in various literary journals. She was named Poet of the Year by Walt Whitman Birthplace Association and Poet In Residence for Oceanside Library NY 2020, and she won the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Creative Endeavors. In her non-writing life, when she’s not teaching yoga, she’s watching the Game Show Network. Find her links on http://www.christinamrau.com.
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