The Storm

The ocean gathers himself,
shoulders raised, crazed waves
spewing from his brutal mouth, swallowing stars
as he comes. Shaken, stirred,
the shore quivers to receive him, her love.
Her lips still bruised by his gnawings, but there she goes –
there she goes into the rushing beast of the night.
In the lives of those who love each other,
the storm always come too sudden. Quick as whips,
the lightnings tear the sky in shreds; wounded
shreds to be sewn back together
by the red moon and a watchful owl.
They already know. They always knew. When it is over,
the ocean – his violent heart broken –
laps soft kisses at the shore’s fingers,
knees, dreams and never ever again. In the lives
of those who love each other, the morning after the storm
always promises to brighter; brighter than
yesterday; brighter than all those days
that furl into remorse; nameless remorse
born in the name of love;
the kind of love
that makes us rage, and destroy;
destroy everything we love.

The Island

On a warm Wednesday I went to Ellis Island alone. That morning I poked the yoke of my husband’s sunny-side-up, and burnt his toasts on purpose. On hands, on knees, on chafed discontent, I crawled all the way to Miss Liberty’s crowned head. I’ve often had dreams like this. Blue veins of oceans pumping salt-water into my wounded canoe. I shall never make it to her alive, I’ve traded my paddles for the low simmering kettle expectant of boiling so I could thaw this damn chicken for the dinner party where I shall be red-lipped, high-heeled and properly elusive. But I shall never make it to her alive, not this moment when the jungle-red sun has been hushed, and my soapy hands are clasping the soiled collar of an ill-fitted and tedious shirt with such stubbornness. I scrub it into moonrise whiteness, so white that I could almost start over in my weightless sleep. My dream takes me to the island – the stone – lipped woman married to the hands of the mason who sculpted her into perfect stillness. I touch her bare petrous toes, they are cold as my own. She is close – so close that the burning torch in her hand could almost be mine.

 

Originally published in Sweet Tree Review, Winter 2016.