At the top the light goes round and round. At the bottom, there is no light at all. I can never go back down, but I wish the stairs were not spiraled so. They go round and round, and the night becomes a few dim consolations, scattered over glass. Each time the light goes past, it turns my face and other people and places into a circle of thin constellations.
After the white light there’s the blue light, and after that, there’s nothing. The pavilion and the ocean liner go on just as they did before, waiting for someone else to discover them. The slim girl, thinking about nothing, keeps on swimming out to sea, my son curled about her heart. The light, the light that searches for the bottom, does not replace the dark.
It almost puts one to sleep, the turning and turning. I never REALLY see anything except the ocean liner moving slowly across the horizon, the slim girl swimming and swimming. I hear the sounds, the indecipherable sounds inside, down the stairwell, and I listen. I listen to the dark, where the center always breaks, and nothing ever really keeps.
I thought there would be others at the top. I thought the slim girl could come along too. I do not know what I sought up here, the lights having scattered so, and all my pages turned to glass. And the old folks along the shore, who have never seen the ruined castles in Spain, think everything would change if their only son would only come down to shore again.
After The Storm
The postman says he will discontinue the mail if the tree limbs are not cut.
After the storm, gladiolas and morning glories cling to a dying oak.
Sparrows and seagulls feed on crumbs leftover by drunken seamen.
The ocean liner is still moving slowly across the bleak horizon.
Without saying goodbye, the slim girl is still swimming and swimming.
Pages of old books turn with their marginal marks, searching for answers.
Here on Tybee Island tangled grape vines strangle maples and willows.
The channel markers and beacons are all gone, but this salty seawall remains.
The broken screens of these beach house windows survive the malcontent sea.
Lean white hounds wait near old railroad tracks for the lights beyond the darks.
Fog horns sound up and down the Savannah River through the damp, dark nights.
If you ever come back, don’t try to revive the willows. We could… plant a few small palms.
(The roses are still there, the candle we did not burn, the bed we did not remake, the rivers we did not run.)
This –- is a broken shell in a sea of weeds, and there’s our walkway in the dark. I search the streets nights wondering where you are or watch planes coming in, remembering Chicago’s Lake and vendors on Wells Street. So, what if we didn’t cross the bridge El Conquistador? (Does man really have his own strings to pull?) We stood at the entrance of fireplace and water, calculating what we had to lose, mine a domestic dilemma, yours a bit of comfort, friends and respectabilities. If we had not met, the world would blame ME for dying. We’ll not see the windows become white, you and I, together against the night. You’ll slumber into other arms, I’ll go off to make another sunset, clouds, and discover another city, another street. The most difficult thing to remove won’t be the roses. I knew They would perish, but where you sat and turned, the way you removed your shoes will not be so easy. Well…, everybody deserves at least … one … disaster.
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