After a hot afternoon,
a sudden rising chill wind
blows his canvas from the wall.
The pool, filled with the blood of the volcano,
is still hot soup warm after twelve hours of cooling. I slide into it,
all others in the house and neighborhood asleep or abed.
Strings of papyrus blown into the water
catch at me like cobwebs as I swim through viscous water.
I comb them from the water with my fingers
and launch them poolside.
Gentle music floats up from the town,
backup to the repetitious trilling of the nightingale
and the far-off Who? Who? Of an owl.
The crack of the house settling into night.
The wind singing in a different voice from every palm tree
under a clear sky filled with stars.
Air cool on my face,
water hot around my body— its currents like silken whips,
I try to remember sensuality with someone else attached to it.
Moving forward and back, then in circles around the kidney-shaped edge,
I am drunk on the night, making my own romance,
knowing that what matters, now that past loves are over,
is not sharp words or all the craziness of love’s endings,
but instead—the first yearning wishes met impossibly
by the answer in another’s eyes and voice, then mouth and hands.
What is important is that sweet pain of wanting—
the answering pain of wanting back.
All the fairytales of new love:
tropical sand or mountain canyons echoing the call
of goats and the answer of goatherds,
a first sight across a smoky room,
hearing a poet’s words about a past love
and, knowing that power could be directed towards me,
dizzy in love before I even met him.
His death or love dying first is not what it is important to remember—
just those days where love was everything that mattered.
And in this life gained after those first vanished loves,
”Send me a sign,” I say, looking to the stars.
And there is a flash, immediate.
Not a falling star,
but one shooting upward in a quick bursting flash of light.