Monday, January 11, 2010

Fire on the Beach

Your hands are my hands: our fingers
twine at the least excuse. We need
so little now. All year I have been
casting things aside.

Burdens falling away
like the bark of plane trees, like
paint peeling from a fence:
you can pack light at the last.

Strip off the shirt, hair and all.
Point your toes and haul
your trouser legs off, one by one.
wrench the socks off of your feet.

No more shoes, no more coats,
No more fussing with laces or buttons,
With snaps, buckles, clasps. No more
Elastic. Nothing tied.

Bottle blue, shadowed insides of toes,
the dart of hummingbird tongues.
You turn your head and your hair swings
forward, and then back.

Again to the river, to the scree
of gulls, who can swallow anything;
to the scrabble of rats, the scuttle of beetles;
the pull and sieve of water through the nets

of river grass, the fragile eels, the sour
smell of mud, the sough of air
breathing down your neck. The sundrip
through the coffee filter sky.

Books you bought new, in the days of wanting,
break at the spine when you open them;
the pages are brown at the edges, the glue
falls brittle in clots and flakes.

Pages float loose. Crumple them. Do
what you would never do before:
shake them free in a heap on the beach,
strike a match, and watch them rise in love.

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