WAITING FOR EVY
in memory of EM
Across a cream-colored raw silk sky,
the deeply booming fog horn seems to mourn
the ending of the day, ribbons and veils
of chiffon blowing through October’s bloody leaves,
torn from laughing brides whose white limousines
have passed, fog streaming in my summer screens like gauze.
Beyond the church spires through the dusk
there is an answering campanile,
a lighthouse in Boston Harbor,
on an island, on a rock pile, with peeling shakes
and geraniums by the door without its beam alight.
I know all its windows are open.
A rag rug, a table, thickly-painted, beside
the trundle bed. On it are salt-scented,
surf-colored sheets, hemmed in scallop shells,
waiting for a woman to come back from the sea.
Let me tell you how it happened:
she put her palms together to pray, paused,
then plunged into the breakers,
learning to breathe underwater
though it came hard, her ear
turning abalone, the depths disheveling
her quicksilver nightdress as she kicked
in her diving down and vanishing.
She is going to lie on the Atlantic’s deepest altar--
to be unmade--to be colonized again with microscopic pearls,
to be reborn in the beating of the tides,
rhythms which will start up her burdened heart
when the metamorphosis is over.
Moon, keep track of her.
Pebbles chatter as the riptide pulls back stones,
gulls on the seawall pacing anxiously and muttering.
I’m here until darkfall, dawn, day--as long as it takes,
pressing my toes in her freezing Lethe underfoot.