island beach vacation, last day

    Her breasts heave in curt gasps
    as if caught and ground on the lip
    of the bed's edge, coming. How loved
    depends on how used she feels.
    He, returned to the ocean beating
    outside and in his veins,
    is no longer to blame, belongs
    to a different genus of verb,
    a time of vowels. So the chilled air,
    mosquitoes travailing its currents
    and the sheets rumpled just so,
    become part of this room
    they have already left behind,
    dressed and walking the shore
    of their lives, silt underfoot, the moon rising.
    Hands clasped, the sea lapping without waves
    and a sky so glassy and large the scented storm
    is in sight hours away, luminous
    gray curtain call across the horizon.
    So many ways to consider this
    exile: obligatory homecoming, return
    to familiar omissions, the smallness of one minute
    or another. Every day a kind of leaving
    anew and being mortal, an instant
    birthing the next and then discarded.
    Would rather the beach stretch and darken
    forever, not have to turn back. How
    she stole her youth from days that seemed
    endless, only to repay it all, the way
    water claims everything, soundlessly
    and without end. Making love
    when they return to bed for the last time,
    his hands call up what childhood remains
    between her sandy thighs, fingers
    once again bringing in the tide.

04 November 2001   02:45 hours
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