Wind in the Cypress, Salt in the Wind
What I wanted to say to my brother
the dial tone was already tenderly
humming, so I lay the phone down
without placing a number. I might
have lullabied it to my bride instead,
but she was listening to her pillow
so intently that she’d closed
her patient eyes. The blackened television
beat me to the private punch line
in my head. Even as I left the house,
I felt the feckless alter-echoes
of a thousand messages precede me
in the breathless froth and lather
of the moon across the fescue.
Though all was still, a psalm
I could have prayed, a more
precise rendition of the tune
I’d almost thought, advanced there
like a season at the speed
of natural law. At last,
I wanted only to appeal that you,
who’d gone, would come again
as you had done before and meet me
on the ice-white lawn beyond the palms.
You were there already, having heard.
I’d brought so many inexpressibles
I wanted to impress on you,
but something barometric changed,
came backward, and I knew
that I was wrong about them all.
My mind was raw, my mouth—
and every syllable I’d labored
to prepare dissolved. Thank God.
Wind in the cypress, salt in the wind:
the unambitious stretch of beachside
still exceeds my indiscretions
and is patently immune.
Briefly we each smiled before you turned,
the streetlights golden at our shoulders
like two empty speech balloons.
“Wing in the Cypress, Salt in the Wind” first appeared in Third Coast, vol. 42, 2017.