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Richard Stolorow

Atlantic Ocean

I sat upon your lap, on the mute legs
you dragged from room to wheeled chair, shoes
scraping the wood sideways like a kid’s
with cheeks flushed in effort and disdain
for the philandering intruder among your nerves.

We were quite drunk, you and I, easily
in the windy afternoon after the gardening was done
and I had mixed the Cuba Libres strong, the coke
carrying the rum’s smack like a small blond
hammer to our bloods and brains.

I’d always since I met you thought
that one day I might in the fierce embrace of
desperate love bare my truly supplicant soul
to you who was already bowed by the beautiful
mother of death, the long mollifying fingers of time.

How gay we were, I with my arm about you
as you drove us electrified around the house
in the chair, you flushed this time with something
girlish, some stirring in your lower part,
a dance you still knew how to do.

The great thing that would turn me, that would be
the Atlantic to my little shore—the blue, vast, infinite,
terrifying thing—I did not do.  I did not take
your lonesome red breasts in my mouth nor see you
happiest since your healthy youth, swallow me
in full view of the world.