A Poem About The Ocean
The traditional response
would be a lament.
The image of a man standing on a block of ice
in the middle of the North Atlantic,
into the frozen Arctic wind. How
when she finally got home that night,
she seemed awkward.
Her cheeks were pink
and how her little rayon sundress shone translucent
around her thighs
in the light of the doorway.
"Turn some lights on," she said impatiently.
"Where have you been?"
And she would not look at me.
She had to ride with Brian because his wife
was in New York,
said they stopped at his hotel,
so he could get a sweater.
"You went to his room?" "Just for a minute."
"What's going on?" "Nothing."
But it was well past midnight
and when she went to take a shower,
I rifled through her stuff,
the little dress -- barely a handful,
the papers in her bag -- nothing
and then her black lace panties.
But this was not the first time
I felt small before her.
And this is not intended as the block of ice
but the image of a child
having only just discovered the ripples
of light in the bathtub,
standing on a beach, looking out at the vast curve
of the horizon.
For, the real story starts years before
on top of a hill,
wine and bread in the late summer clearing.
She lay naked against the hillside,
the valley spread out below us.
The sky moved in slow September clouds.
I fumbled with the button on my trousers,
leaving the socks on my feet.
She shivered as I kissed her neck
and down the shoulders.
I lay my head between her breasts,
could hear her heart, and in the space
between the beats, how small we are,
stretched out naked to the world,
was supposed to drive myself into her, and I wondered
how it came to be, me and her,
here on this hill above the September valley,
but she was waiting, and this was the moment,
and I was the one.
I held myself bluntly between her legs
and everything was sinking
into the hillside.
She squinched and stiffened
eyes tucked together
and then open boldly as if to say
Get on with it!