Saturday, July 21, 2012

Or the sea . . .

"She trusts me," I overhear you say
on one of the many calls you walk outside to take,
and some smooth stone slips over my heart.

Your eyes, which held such sweetness, now look caged.
I miss the graceful swing of the string between us:
the simple kiss, quiet first, then asking for more.

"I only want you to be happy," felt sincere,
so easy, but now, I don't know.
Your tongue on mine is thick
and drunk from crying
as I reach my hand to yours.

We tryst, we sweat and moan, the sea itself;
drowning all thoughts in this pitching cauldron.

In the morning, through the blinds,
a shy lavender light,
laced with butterscotch
and dusty mullien
a sweet Sargasso
of weedy down
on your face,
swirling in a gyre
around your grave
and silent lips

once again.


  1. How beautiful. And frightening like all of human life. Why can't it be graceful and simple? Achingly gorgeous language as always, MJ. The tension between sweetness and betrayal tugs at all my fibers. Like that sea, that huge sea. You manage to use "butterscotch" in a poem and anchor it with deep and wild trepidation.

  2. Thank you so much, Ruth. The butterscotch came from my small patch of lavender, which I've been visiting, rubbing the blossoms between my hands and being amazed at the sweet butterscotch undertones in it, not just the soapy top notes. I'm glad it resonated with you.

  3. I never knew about the butterscotch residue from lavender!

  4. especially resonant for me is this line, "I miss the graceful swing of the string between us" which sings, and the thick tongue drunk from crying. i know this kind of snot nosed kiss:) and while the poem is tense and weighted, i love your light conversation with ruth, two women strolling through the garden. i laugh. i swear, you two carry parasols.


    1. Hahaha. Yes. We do, or we ought to, anyway, in some metaphorical way. Thank you so much, erin.
      The string comes from my research into Kashmiri wedding rituals in which a golden thread connects the bride and groom. It was an image so striking that I pull it out from time to time--imagine, some beautiful, shining golden gossamer of thread connecting you to your betrothed. *Sigh* I'm such a romantic. Me and my lavender-butterscotch scented parasol!