I touch my palms to the floor
and granite rhinos surge up my arms
and lock in my shoulders.
Water flecks on my back
and my head is shaved
by bladed cream.
But then my time in my body is up
and it’s time for my mind:
It seeks wisdom
and the rhinos fall into a well,
their faces falling apart—
I want to know what their last words are
but their lips are fading into the purple.
I put my hands into the ground again
but rhinos come only for the body
and never for the mind.
I used to want infinite time with my thoughts.
Now I’d prefer to give all my time
to a body that’s dying
I’m jotting down these lines,
having borrowed a pen from a waitress
in this roadside restaurant. Three rusty pines
prop up the sky in the windows.
My soup gets cold, which implies
I’ll eat it cold. Soon I too
will leave a tip on the table, merge
into the beehive of travelers
and board one of the ferries,
where there’s always a line to the loo
and no one knows where the captain is.
Slightly seasick, I keep on writing
of the wind-rose and lobster traps,
seagulls, if any—and there always are.
Check the air and you’ll see them
above straw hats and caps.
The sun at noon glides like a monstrous star-
fish through clouds. Others drink iced tea,
training binoculars on a tugboat.
When I finish this letter, I’ll take a gulp
from the flask you gave me for the road
in days when I was too young to care about
those on the pier who waved goodbye.
I miss them now: cousins in linen dresses,
my mother, you, boys in light summer shirts.
Life is too long. The compass needle dances.
Everything passes by. The ferry passes
by ragged yellow shores.
I’m not in with this mystery. Somebody steady me.
Cool ocean breezes don’t make me laugh.
I’m in with noisy metal little nils. A million apologies.
I must have made more.
You were sensitive, you needed them
No you weren’t and you didn’t. In fact . . . oh forget it!
In the middle of the ocean reflected with the moon,
good place to show; probably no one knows you there.
Your leaving, the thrown rope up to sky, climbed up for real goodbye.
I realized my reason insufficient; you must have considered this.
How my specific lean to you smelled like an old paper cup
of funny water and you were not very thirsty.
You came unbidden initially and often. A field
and flickering wicks of foxes from here to there. You.
Holding Hell at bay. Back to ground,
I see you on the moon with your mirror
catching action on the parallax.
Some kind of wise guy.