I don’t know who I thought I was back then,
but the afternoon sun sifted through the Spanish moss
that curled from the trees with the natural grace
of girls in August. It could be like that:
the breeze fanning the gnats from the palms, the palms
lulling the stars to sleep. I wanted to be your last dream
before waking. I wanted the blanket of night to be as soft & clean
as an infant; our love to be as bright & clear as the moon
when it bursts through the floor of dusk’s horizon; something
as elegant & rare as the night-blooming cereus
that perfumes the loneliest depths of Peru. I’m still not sure
if I was living the life I wanted to believe or the life I believed
I wanted but even the waves at highest tide seemed to slow & kiss
the shore. Remember that dive that collapsed to the water?
Someone had carved “LOVE IS GRAVITY” into our table. Is that the force
that grounds us? Or keeps us from ascending? The love we have
is the one we tucked in the back of the drawer like well-worn jeans—
the song of the fiddler crab as it backs its way into its hole.
I remember how bright the beach could be late at night—each star pointing
to unseen places for love to hide. Remember the dolphins in early morning—
the steady rhythm as they surfaced & dove, surfaced & dove, surfaced & dove—
their work a constant reminder of death & resurrection? I doubt I thought of it
like that then—how natural it is for love to die and return again.
I just wanted our hearts to continue expanding. It was the gulls
who finally showed me at the edge of our world, there is another.
Love never really dies; it becomes the fog that blankets the sunrise;
the silence between our conversations. The highway off that little island
split in two unjoined directions—as if to give us a final choice:
it’s the love we have. It’s the raft I choose when the rising tide is you.
Terry L. Kennedy
Poem, copyright © Terry L. Kennedy, 2006
Appearing on the Fishouse with permission
Audio file, copyright © 2006, From the Fishouse