†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††

 

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††† The Rise Above the Water

 

 

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 1

 

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† On the dock my father built

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† I watch lights from beach houses

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† quiver toward me,††††††††

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† streak across Boca Ciega Bay.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† The moon shoots itself

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† to the water. Light spins, flashes

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† like Spanish doubloons,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† which dazzle, tempting me with miracle.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Yet the neighborís dog howls.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† A gull pounds the air with its wings.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† A mullet slaps the surface.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† The grainy boards beneath my feet

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† are real enough. What then?

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† I must have sat on these rough, slatted boards

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† a hundred, a thousand nights,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† and have never seen such a display.

 

 

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 2

 

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† The day my father died,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† I fell spinning through air.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† The room shifting,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† I could no longer distinguish

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† cool dry ceiling odor

††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† from carpet must.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Hours, I clutched the couch

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† for lack of walls or wings.††††††††

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Days swallowed weeks.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Men held out their hands to me

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† and I grasped.

 

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 3

 

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† The day my husband left,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† the sky doubled over

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† and hung inside out.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Every stain on the sidewalk

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† bruising,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† every crack

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† bleeding,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† when the ground sloped upward,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† I sank,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† and as it sloped downward,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† I rose,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† a noise like maple trees

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† rattled by an October squall.

 

 

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 4

 

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††† One day I woke inland,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Your face, the sun, lifting me.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† A spinnaker, I sailed up between oak branches,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Billowing, while crosscurrents battered canvas.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† The night the lights went out,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† tremors gulped my bloodís heat.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Corpses glided in and out of my sleep,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† touched my face with pasty fingers;

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† they stared at me with my fatherís eyes.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† I called you,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Told you about the ceiling lightís empty bowl,†††

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† The rainís drip into a plastic bin.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† You told me I could dominate darkness.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† I believed,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Needed to believe,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Felt myself filling,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Saw the pressure fall away,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† The furniture settle into place.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† I remembered laughter.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† The thought of you, enough,

 

 

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† (No stanza break)

 

 

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† I listened again

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† for a spoon clapping a dish,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††† a shower running,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† a child calling,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† a school bus gathering itself.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† I listened to the windows

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† holding off the storm.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Monetís flowers, rain-beat,††††††

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† the underbrush alive,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† leaves swelling, bending,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† slowly greens, yellows, tans

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† swirl and merge.

 

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††† 5

 

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Yesterday I cowered

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† back to my childhood bed.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† I shut the window

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† on the waves sloshing,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† fronds tussling.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Sea oats fluttered your farewell

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† until it came

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† whispering down my spine.

 

 

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 6

 

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† On this dock I once watched

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† the horizon through my fatherís eyes.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Cigar scent choked the salt.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† I now see the ladder at the end of the fill.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Without the shroud of his smoke,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† I can climb.

 

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††† Today, I no longer need

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† to tuck myself.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† You are lifting deserts

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† miles from here.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Yet every water ripple sings you.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Lights dip and rise,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† weaving recognition into backwaters.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Against your voice

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† throbs music never before heard:

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† my notes.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Sounds slowly surface

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† until every white shadow of moon

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† licks my palms, my fingers.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Calls lure lights across the bay.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Tones draw into the seawallís hollows,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† lamp shells, which cluster

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† and shine like pearls,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††† holding off everything

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† that is empty.†††