in salt marshes south of Brunswick
we ease ourselves into contours
so gentle they don't show on maps.
Only the washboard effect
of successive waves of lavender
reveals a dainty presence.
Sea-lavender sells for five
dollars a spray in Boston,
but we're harvesting just enough
to warm us one dreary winter,
a candelabra as nostalgic
as my mother's genealogy.
Last night when the wind banged the doors
in our rented cottage and the tide
swept our neighbor's dory from the beach,
we felt each other quicken in sleep
as we both dreamt of gathering
sea-lavender in brilliant light.
I also dreamt, quite separately,
that a former lover came home
to sort through my possessions
and take away what pleased her,
items like the shard of slate
from the Deerfield Massacre stone,
the purple ribbon from Robert
Lowell's grave, the small glass cat
that was my first gift from my wife.
No wonder when morning came
I proposed we scout the marshes
for sea-lavender, despite the rain,
our bodies still uneasy
upon us, the briny damp
revealing as X-rays or radar,
the losses of our previous lives
reflected by the stony fog
and empowered by the radiance
ignited by our love of the sea.