Silences/XI

Those drunken old men had long ago
crawled out of the pub, their raucous laughter
swimming now in the silent light
that spears through the leaves & windowpanes
as the tropic breeze gently batters
the flowers in the vase, pushes soiled napkins
off the table that stinks of grime, blood & bones.
The door creaks, candlesmoke lingers in dark corners
The phone is dead, the fan stockstill on the ceiling
Whispers had long been downed by the susurrus
of the sea, the waves lapping the white shore
like strange presentiments of what has always
been the order of things: shells on the sand,
footprints washed off, seagulls slicing
the blue air, crabs burrowing among rocks
& the foam of oceans like the froth
in my mouth that sickeningly tastes of beer
Here, sitting on a jut of stone, my hand
writing in the moving seawater that gnaws
at my feet—waiting, waiting like some foolish
child for the telltale signs: thunder, lightning,
spout of moss, fish & corals that will announce
your coming
They, who had stood watch & left at dawn to sleep,
who had given me counsel never to say never,
had long since perished in their deep sleep
& because their country of violence is beyond reach,
will never hear of my weeping for her, Venus & mermaid,
who once rose up from the crystalline sea….

O, but is it my heart, or the water that tumultuously stirs?

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