At first you were lonely
then I was lonely. Then
we fell through the hammock
in our sloping yard.

Here’s my corner
of the pissed-in shed.
Here’s to that moment of joy
when the boat opened the sea
the sea opened the sail
and the sail billowed: a broken neck
in a bright blue kite sky.

You swept the bangs
from my forehead
in the glorious dampness
on the eve of our undoing
at the expense of so much saltwater.

You called me over to the candle
of a lighthouse and all its burning.
You called me down to the cake of crust
beneath the reef and what it divides.

Just pretend there’s a really good reason
to praise the waves that flow upward now
through the steep streets
of our quiet town
across Bella’s small grave
across the tossed fruit
we first ate from
through our orange bedroom
with the faded blinds
through our blindness—
the Wednesdays and the Saturdays
of our twenties now passing.

Call me down to the floor
like a starfish you loved once
for too many arms.

 


It’s easy to praise this wonderful love poem. Like love itself it is full of the thingness
of relationships, both the light and the dark and the meaningful moments in-
between. As the title suggests there is so much happening between land and water
where, if we are lucky, we are called “down to the floor/ like a starfish” our lover
“loved once/ for too many arms”.
—Matthew Dickman, 2010 Ruth Stone Poetry Prize Judge