Tale of a Farmer’s Wife

August hot, house even hotter.
She’s sweating like the devil’s been by.

In shadow of doors swung wide open,
a hawk lands and pouches a field mouse.
This is the country after all,
the home of dead or dying animals.

Then, come night, heat breaks up
with lightning fireworks,
and thunder like a drum roll of the gods.

Terrified window-lights
shake and cower,
having given up on being beacons.
“Where’s my dinner?” her surly husband asks.

Brute weather, brute of man.
Her makeup covers half her story.

Heavy rain pounds the rooftop.
If only the rooftop would pound back.

On Vacation

Argued loudly about who
can see the farthest looking inward.
On the balcony. Such animated talk.
A dolphin breached beyond the pier.
A fisherman displayed a marlin he’d just caught.

Sarcasm spent all evening
in a small apartment,
broken glass filled the fireplace –
we did not toss them at each other –
the silence said,
“Speak to me when you’re in a better mood.”

Head on pillow,
humming a country song,
a crowd has gathered
from years ago, another coast,
as we go into the bed’s separate corners,
then, as the atmosphere stops thickening,
we embrace,
nodding off in sequence in the dark.

How things should have been better with us –
I watch you pull the sheets back like a lover.
The windows are all shuttered.
No one else belongs.
We tip lips like glasses.
Everything so new,
like we’ve only lived for hours.
A long time fondling your newborn skin.
You tending my bruises.
Maybe even bringing out the secret Nikon –
to smile for the camera with teeth suitably primed.

But it’s winter,
pointless to think otherwise,
trees beyond barren,
dead as human dreams
and no shout out to the subconscious
will ever bring them back.

Several times I wake, thinking
how once it was the hearts that broke
and now it is the spirit.
That takes longer but there’s fissures just the same.

We’re in this seaside town.
Your lids are closed.
Such composure on your sleeping face.
I’ve more to say.
It can wait.

Once, on a bed just like this one,
we turned the days we did not speak
into nights we did not have to.
Now, we lie on the bed,
the aftermath of an explosion.
We do not quite evaporate.
Not on my watch.
Not on yours.