My wife’s smile is like two apples,
Her smile smiles with courage,
Her eyes smile inside her smile
Like the echo of love between lovers.
My wife’s smile opens Spring windows
Like the flowers for which we wait.
Her smile is the peace of the house
And the sunlight after a storm.
Her smiles elevate me to higher ground.
They are like kisses from afar,
Negative test results for my anxiety,
Poetry awards to prise my heart.
Sometimes I still see a trace of desire,
How she looked at me when we met.
The years bury that trace in acquaintance
But there once remains a prospect,
Even beyond the childcare years,
Well into adulthood, from time to time,
The trace of desire pauses between us
Like a dragonfly on the tip of a stem.
Now that we approach old age together
I wonder how long desire will last,
Beyond beds owned and sleep lost,
This lingering, fraying tether.
Do you remember kisses in the rain?
They washed away in the flood.
Do you remember kissing in snow?
They melted in their own heat.
Do you remember kisses in sand?
They are all in an hour-glass.
Do you remember kisses in mirrors?
They are lost in reflection.
I remember kisses in the rain,
Water was thirsty for your kisses.
I remember kisses in snow,
I kissed snowflakes from your lips.
Do I remember kisses in sand?
I keep them in a shadow box.
Do I remember kisses in mirrors?
Love is the mirror of my mind.
They pulled me from your sleep
But the rigging could not hold
Nor the anchor swim.
Like a navigator I charted the stars,
Waiting for the waves to break
Over the midnight voyage of our flesh.
You were swept along
On the sail of my breath
But the storm
Had carried us past our island.
In the morning the ocean
Opened our eyes
And the sun came to rest
On our shadows.
We studied the charts
Then spread our hands
To the wind.
You called me your captain
And fed me honey and almonds
The color of your shoulder.
Among red waves the sun went down.
In one stride came the night.
We had reached the edge of the world.
One gust bends the reeds, another rights them.
A pond levels the eye in the light of the mind.
Fed with honey and light, dusk is sounding,
Stones detach, trees branch into trees,
People in the park stand apart, part of every part;
Paths drift from the path; those lost remain so;
And it is beautiful to live in two worlds, twice two,
Feeling and saying, believing and denying,
Witnesses to simultaneous sunsets, to an earth
Concurrent to ourselves and each others’ other.
Alone with her among mummies
Pegged to walls in period clothes,
Gruesome as their living counterparts
Must have seemed to lovers then,
Soon enough each other we touch,
Among skull and bone mosaics
And friars spying round corners
With devils riding their backs,
We nick a moment of passion
From damned eternity in this crypt.
At the start of voices we must stop.
At the possibility of prosecution
We heed a prudency of practical sense.
The monks can have memento mori,
Their truth has vulgar demands.
We climb out of the underworld
And wash our feet in an ancient river,
Forgetting darkness and silence
For the light and traffic of life,
For our bed and room
With its wide windows on the sea.
When we wake we discover
Love shining into darkness like the sun.
When we make love
I am the masthead
And you are the sail
I am the bowsprit
And you are the night
for my wife
Halcyon mornings can save a marriage.
The glittering lake is level to the bright land,
Blue is suffused with the stillness of sand
As we breathe air from another realm
And our senses waken unaware.
Even in distraction and despair
We are spellbound by the silence,
Inundated by a placid flood of heat and light,
Permeated by quiescence,
The children playing, as in a lakeside painting,
Pacified by a powerful calm.
All is quiet in us, our vows unvoiced,
Arguments overwhelmed and soundless as the shore,
Lulled by tranquilizing hours
Far from chaos and confrontation,
Healed in respite of all turbulence and storms.
Meeting her, I felt drunk on crabapple wine.
I stood under a crabapple tree in bloom
Dazzled by the pink foaming branches,
Tasting tartness infused in raindrops,
Breathing the sweet air of a spring shower,
While falling petals paved
An endless road of crabapple trees in bloom
Where I went staggering and in love,
One spring day worth a thousand French wines.
Whenever I hear your voice, I’m a beekeeper,
My hand in the honey of the droning hive;
I can hear a cat purring inside a pyramid,
Conch waves, music box with ballerina,
Your voice pregnant with love,
Sprawling bedsheets stirring in dreams,
Spring wafting its aura into the room,
Waking us to love, to sleep, to more dreams.
Whenever I hear your voice, I’m kissed
By the shape of your mouth, warmth of your lips,
And flesh of its naked sound, the wild honey
Of hearing you from the inside.