Ophelia

this morning is
an orange hue

our sun burns
like a hot penny

Ophelia’s gift
for the few

a cost for the many

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You!

You and your bendy bough,
swinging side to side,
leaning this way and that.
How your resilient branches
dip and duck, 
strong as oak,
polished and bold.

My apples fling themselves
into splendid trajectories,
abandoning these brittle
arms
 knowing this
turbulent trunk will
fall and lie 
in dirt
for lumber.

Some Midnight Muse

I can’t tell if she’s listening to music.
The woman beside me, sat in her car,
eating a burger and chips, face lit
by the dashboard, staring toward
the black abyss of the parking lot.

Faint, ahead of us both, a father leads
his daughter across the inky pitch
of empty space. They trace the line
markings like tightropes, wave
to balance, ease their speed to steady.

I like to think that it is classical music.
The father and daughter dance to it
in their muted steps. Their silent laughs.
And – he loses balance, vanishes from
the spotlight of a lamppost. She is alone.

Then, he steps back in. Holds her hand.
Continues walking.

Globe Artichokes

She stops at the cauliflower.
Fluffy heads range the counter.
They bend apart, limber at the stalk.
No, she says, no good. A marrow next,
she raps the hull with her knuckles, runs
a hand along the skin. There’s never
much to them, she sighs.

Last, a globe artichoke. Solid.
Closed cupped. A purple hue
streaks each leaf. Her closed eyes.
Slow, soft fingers wrap the head
as if to feel the heart
inside. Beating. Ripe.
She holds it by the stem.
My artichoke bride.
Yes,
yes I will.

A Thousand Lives

Harbour

He shows me a photograph of his father sat on a boat.
A mess of net piled on the bow, a morning sun spilled into sea.

“Each life carries the next, like an infinite lift of waves, generation
to generation,” he said. “Even if it means to carry a coffin of bricks.”

I saw his figure later in the day, stood at the highland edge,
his arms held out wide to the spread of blue expanse before him.

And that night, I woke to waves, their hush on shingle,
to winds running through alleys, homes, cathedrals.

A chorus of a thousand lives, sea shanties from children,
husbands, wives, forever carried on a gentle tide.

Photograph taken in Port Isaac, Cornwall, UK.

 

Roses

I think of the process: they are planted,
grown and then cut, bundled,
bunched, priced, put to water,

fumbled and roughed by the public
who thumb the petal folds, ruthless
in their grip and demand.

An already expiring purchase, perhaps
to be forgotten in the cold of kitchen sink,
left to wilt and later dispose.

The things of love that are given none.

And this happened. I saw a boy
stop in his walk, bend a knee to
the roses, as if to royalty.

He leaned forward, closed his eyes
and took in the majesty of sweet, velvety
perfume, prizing each second

like this was the scent
of a sleeping newborn’s crown.
How cautious he was not to wake.