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