Hero and Leander
Yet in that silver age A pale boy The sea god’s love Came toward a fine and flashing Monotony; and steam came From him as from a mechanism And he came to disregard The magnetic seasons As teachers hurry under a tent the heat Coming toward him even as He sinks himself further As if to please again the boring god It is he! O Leander Do you come back now, Or are you just running from Some sunny girl, for he could see Now no storm pulling The waves up to be clipped As a barber will hold a lock Then let it fall back shorter And if no storm then what? No, hello, I’m just ducking The waves, we have the day From school and some went down To ship but the sun Was so pestering I couldn’t think to be on decks And all this talk the god Had become the water talking And looked at his body Skinny as a flame in smoke And was around it true as a level But Leander felt funny and said I think I hear the motor I better go and the sea god Back again to swimming thing thought Why am I so humble always with this Slipping thing I’m not a forcing god Thank goodness think of the menace To these seas a brake of salt ice Would be On the surface Leander bobbed a true diver Tearing in the sun and saw On shore peeling a giant orange A girl standing looking out at The great difference of the waves Burning in the breakers saw her look As three black lines on his brow and he Forgetting the sea-god Did tricks in the shallows Which the girl, closer not a girl! A woman sad and now Not annoyed not amused Leander, seeing, dripping as he came Onto rocky land said May I Have a piece of that It was pomegranate and she Smiled red and said Here and he was in intense pain And could not move and she, hearing They had gathered all the mallows They wanted for the recital, Said goodbye and turned away. I cannot move he said vaguely Through burning lock of muscle In his back but she was gone On a school bus of students Playing games of prophecy With paper. O Leander Came a voice. Leander you will Burn out there!
Poem from Million Poem Journal, reprinted with permission of Faux Press Books