Thursday, April 14, 2016

A Chair on Cannon Beach

On Cannon beach in the shade
of Haystack Rock we place a chair.
Cheap gray plastic with arms,

it looks uneasy enough to flee
if it could. The surf booms and sighs.
The foam ripples up to the chair

and retreats. We’ve set it exactly
on the line between land and sea
so that we can spend an hour

or two evolving in the cloud-light
of April. We sit together
in a lump of flesh and cuddle.

The distance from here to Japan
seems slight enough to cross
by paddling the wooden canoe

hanging in my garage. Looking
down the beach toward California
we agree that when the tsunami comes

the erasure will be so powerful
it will even remove this chair
from the furthest, darkest corners

of our memories. But for now
we clutch each other in handfuls
of ego and ignore the stares

of other couples shuffling along
wet sand or wading in the wash.
The shadow of the rock shifts,

a sundial too massive to point
with precision. We pose until dusk,
then unfold ourselves and stand,

and leave the chair for high tide
to purify, our afterglow
visible only from the moon.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

La Farge Blue

So in Trinity Church we stalk
to the altar, then turn to admire
light shivering through the blue,

bottomless blue, that La Farge
embodied in the windows
placed high above the vestibule

to absorb the afternoon sun.
Braced in the gloomy stone the blaze
of this implacable color frames

Jesus with two marble pillars
too formal to support the plain
colloquial ministry he preached.

But they hold and focus our gaze
for long moments, infusing
the blue so deeply inside us

we now will never deplete it.
Slumped in a pew we avoid
touching each other until

the heavens stop revolving.
Now as random chords implode
the organ, quaking foundations

all over Back Bay, our hands crawl
toward each other like sand crabs
almost too timid to mate.

The whole afternoon creeps forward
with this same nervous movement.
What if blasphemous stones fell

and broke these elegant windows?
Would we still regard each other
with a deep-set silence impossible

for the organ to violate?
As we rise to slip outside, the blue
of the windows deepens a few

degrees. The autumn sun lowers
below the Prudential Tower,
which thrusts into an atmosphere

breathed by the usual people
among whom we’ll shine secretly
with colors we’ve yet to explore.