The dash and lope and zeal and warp and woof,
scrape and trawl and . . . we were out on a lake,
I returned a fish to water and followed you
to learn by watching how to use my arms
to swim to shore and there freed our wet skins
to find what was inside the other’s, warm if wet.
Poetry’s provenance seals your body with mine.
This verse I mean. Red sky at noon, a sailor’s home.
Go throw your soft arms around a father’s shoulders
that navigated many shores to find your kiss
but he does not know I mean to take you from him
and the eternal story continues: love ends.
You have given what you knew to loving me here.
The words are restless in their briny skin and shells.
Endless task you can’t approach the way you grew up
hearing your father play guitar and fiddle while
your first heart and last place more than fingers
on two-toned keys where you sang when I would not.
After you, before you, women with red hair, eyes
Osage, exotic one, each one entwined thereby
with your men, the Viking, the suave one, the elder . . .
how we endured our youth but ah! we loved it so
what we could do with our whims and passions
in a wild circle where we were more than at first.
Rise in the morning and discover what you think.
Better than shouldering shovel or hoe or scythe.
Be glad you no longer wear your mind over skin.
At the end of my graveyard shift you were sleeping.
How good to give away the toil and take the road
where the sea churns the dark into a feast of light.
(11 December 2011)
copyright 2011 by Floyce Alexander