Nocturne In C

December 6, 2016


Because these are not the nights of empty hands,
because these are not the nights of dreams galloping
like gasoline fire over blue tar,
I wish you could see what I see
when I look at you,
I wish I could give you
the landscape in my soul, invisible
as the wishes I follow to your mouth –
an ocean mounting within me, the drowsy foam
and drone of velvet waters washing us closer
and farther apart, always both at once,
murmur of umber, bloodwings beating in bone.

You cannot see the waves breaking against welted shoals,
but in the rocking of our chair, maybe you hear
the whispering of the sea, biting acetylene,
or cries of tern and gull, brine-stung; maybe you hear
the uncaged waters gasping against hasp and hull,
salt fumes hissing, scalps flensed from bile-dark brine.
In your shirt’s rustling, I hear sailcloth in wind,
ropes lashed and pulling against the mast.
In our chair’s rasp against pine boards, I hear
the creak of oarlocks, a broken scull scraping against keel.
I hear spume soaking a bowsprit crisped with salt,
as I rock into your torso, your human shore.

Come nearer, nearer,
for I want to see what you see –
Dress me in burlap and bone,
wrap me in musk and dulse, in human moss,
shine me a lighthouse’s scalding gold;
comfort me with wine and sole, come to me
with a severed branch of coral, a fistful of wet wings;
sing me the gauze of dusk and salt, nights full of sulphurous foam,
lead me through the narcotic dark to a bed
of coats, your stubbled face grazing my throat,
for I want to feel your eyelids touching my lips when I sleep,
I want to feel the bones of your silence pressing against my own.

Sue Kwock Kim

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