Carolyn Krieg © 2013 All Rights Reserved
Here, in the blue sheen of the present
vanishing even as it arrives, I want to
give you something , a present
although it is worth less than the string
of pearls I canít afford to buy.
It is only this arrangement of words,
with which I hope you will adorn yourself,
my description of you. Beauty so practiced,
a rendition of Helenís colors chosen
to allure. The first time I saw you
I couldnít help but keep the contours of
your countenance in my mind, the way a
live oak keeps its leaves. It cannot exist
without its canopy. You prefer the sleek
hardware of a tropical breeze that makes
each part of you tremble. Let my gift be
that well designed, to be indispensable
as the sky. Something you would keep, that may
not seem important but that will
in the rondure of the night while you sleep
remind you that love is here, even if
it needs from time to time to be repaired.
That itís ubiquitous as water
spraying from the nozzle
when you shower that continually runs
down the drain only to be replenished.
Wind breathes behind the curtains as shadows
distill in noonís fermented light.
Look, as the air warms, how insects swarm
out of the grass, brilliant specks
that swim about our faces in a gritty cloud
whose undulations makes us bat our eyes
as leaves fall, melting away
into a frail debris that encrusts the yards.
Here we are exiles among angels,
in this district of exquisite surfaces
where crowns of Mexican fan palms float
above the street on their slender poles.
What sort of God would consume us,
soft-bellied and salt-stained, who stand
in the knots of shade eyes pointed at our shoes?
Or who stroll sandstone paths, past
earth-colored columns hung with lanterns,
each dangling over an urn planted with ferns and flowers.
A murmur of bees in the honeysuckle,
a fountain making its sleepy music.
The heat clots in the folds of our sleeves
as a jet passes over, the drone
shaking the hinges of the trees
seems to fill every pore with reverberations
that scrape us to the very bone
before it subsides.
In these spacious hours
the product of our labors is stillness.
The sprinklers click on with a sound
resembling someone rapidly snapping his fingers.
The imprint of my steps
evaporates on the pavement
while I sit out on the patio staring
into the vacancies of afternoon,
sun marking my skin with
indecipherable initials and signs.
Alan Soldofsky is the author of a new collection of poems, In the Buddha Factory, forthcoming from Truman State University Press. He has published three previous chapbooks of poetry: Holding Adam, Staying Home, and Kenora Station. He is a Professor of English and Director of Creative Writing at San Jose State University.
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