Poetry and other Joys
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The Third Painful Thing
Educational to watch the female sea-turtle
Drag herself agonizingly up the beach.
Create depression, globular eggs falling.
We ask our mother, "Where's the daddy?" "He waits for her,
Out there in the ocean." Our father
Would leave her that same month.
I recalled that night a few years later,
My back firm-pressed to the same beach...
Air warm as breath, with a boy who would leave me,
The sand a place for blood and seed.
Arms and legs moving like flippers,
Urgent with the need to learn.
~ July 10, 1998
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Manatees make the best lovers,
Mating in slow underwater movement, their
Lumpy bodies soaring in a pearly passionate
Dance of joining, in slow graceful flow.
If manatees know desire, it's this
Pleasure of sun on half-exposed bodies,
Among the water hyacinths, in
Easeful symmetry, the dance of joining.
We will love as they do, the second time.
(The first urgent, quicksilver. I know this.)
The slow, quiet tidaling of a salty inlet -
The incredible grace of our dance of joining.
~ July 22, 1998
Third Painful Thing
(Just so you know, the first is birth,
The second, death.) The rest, the in-between,
Causes me to be awake at five a.m.
If I but had my childhood beach, I'd
Select a section of jagged brown coral ...
Kiss it to taste the salt, and bring it to my wrist.
(The shells wash up, you know;
Lots of them are pretty, but
So few of them are perfect.)
I would wonder, at my own blood's ebb...
Did Circe know regret about the wreckage
Her song had birthed? Did she bemoan her nature?
If I'm to have a requiem bouquet, I'd like
Seaweed and periwinkles, and one of the fragile,
Flawed shells left lying on the sand.
~ July 31, 1998
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