women have woven mats of grasses
Soft to cover the exposed rock and sand.
In the light of stars and torches,
In the dark of the new moon, they
Bring her forward, his captive. Naked,
Her skin like opal, pale shining except
Where marked by signs of runes in burnt
Charcoal, in dried mud, by the hot bronze
Pressed to the back of her shoulder.
seems she has danced before,
But only for him in sunshine. Never
On the sandy fringed place between
Two rocky headlands, in moon-darkness.
Never naked under so many eyes, such strange
Music his relatives make, as they measure.
He feels the rising of the chanting as he
Watches her move, as they approach each other
From far away, he feels rising.
will know the rough softness of the mat
Pressed to her knees, her breasts; her moon
Toward where the earth’s rides hidden.
She must know the rigid heat of him
Behind her, beginning a thrusting ritual
Possession, possible now because of night,
Of music, of the secret sacred place.
There is blood, pain, and intense desire.
There is a stream running through the cove.
tears, my love, I tell you:
We are a fantasy that feels real.
When you see a small, sheltered, lush
Little place between curved opal rocks,
You will remember with your body.
If ever again you wake in the solitary
Caress and embrace of a coconut-scented
Breath of air, and your eyes behold
A pale orchid with petals like flesh,
You will remember with your soul.