The Physical Things


Redwoods trees, paisano in the afternoon.
Holes in a blue dress. Blue dress hanging
on a doorknob. A sincere apology, to feel guilty,
not believing in unrequited love or ghosts
or the zodiac sky. Shark heart
served on a plate, peyote and square dancing,
in an orange, dark place full of sand and adobe
and sunset.


The moon enters the scene this way,
too small to cast much light. Two boys walk down the ramp
toward the beach where our bodies lie,
bellies moving up and down in rhythm, it seems,
with the earth. I bet the boys could barely see
our skin, just silhouettes. They might have imagined
romance, only a fraction of how love functions.
Us, we could blame it on
the shark we ate, an aphrodisiac or a predator
or just an animal acting like an animal. You
reach up my skirt on our drive toward the beach. Before
the boys appear, just the waves and a little shard of moon:

the physical things come first. Spattered light
through a canopy of Redwood leaves, hard scratches
on our knees from the bark, a little blood shared between body
and body and earth. Or a bottle of coconut rum, a seedy
motel room near Puget Sound, bed sheets, the whitest white,
taken from the instant between dreaming and waking, color
of small deceptions, of truce, twisted around us.
Then, you on your way,
I on mine. Perhaps you feel sorry
with your bottle of rum,
your jug of paisano, drawing the curtains
to block out the whole bright afternoon.
Instead of the alternative. The truth is
I wanted to live through it all at any cost,
another function of love. Perhaps the entrance point
is how the moon changes
the equilibrium of a room
as soon as we both come.


We were talking about the future
in terms of cities. We wanted to swim
in the ocean at night. I wanted more.
Is this what happens when the moon appears
at the wrong time?

The boys want to build a fire where we are. They bring their dry wood.
But the ocean is gone, Big Sur and Coos Bay
are gone. Who’s there? Who stands at the edge and looks up?

We like to hear the water when we fuck. We like to sit naked
under the moon. Yes, this is it. We were talking about places
with no names.


Five QuarterlySpring 2013