The Passionate World Poem
is round. For days we sail, for months,
and still the way is new; strange stars.
Drawn to you, taut over time,
ropes connect this floating floor
to the wind, fraying into sound.
To arrive is to sleep
where we stop moving.
Past the shoal of clothes
to that shore, heaped with debris
of words. A hem of salt,
white lace, on sea-heavy legs.
Love longs for land. All night
we dream the jungle’s sleepy electricity;
gnashing chords of insects swim in our ears
and we go under, into green. All night
love draws its heavy drape of scent against the sea
and we wake with the allure of earth in our lungs,
hungry for bread and oranges.
Salamanders dart from your step’s shadow,
among wild coffee, fleshy cacti, thorny succulents
flowers like bowls to save the rain.
We are sailors who wake when the moon intrudes
the smoky tavern of dreams, wake to find a name
on an arm
or our bodies bruised by sun or the pressure of a
wake with the map of night on our skin,
traced like moss-stained stone.
Lost, past the last familiar outpost,
flat on deck, milky light cool on our damp hair,
we look up past the ship’s angles to stars austere
as a woodcut, and pray we never reach
the lights of that invisible city, where,
landlocked, they have given up on our return.
But some nights, woken by wind,
looking up at different stars,
they are reminded of us, the faint taste of
salt on their lips.
from Poems—The Weight of Oranges, Miner’s Pond,