Tired, hungry, hot, I climbed the steep slope to town, a sultry, watery place, crawling with insects and birds. In the semidarkness of the mountain, small things loomed large: a donkey urinating on a palm; a salt-and-saliva-stained boy riding on his mother's back; a shy roaming black Adam. I was walking on an edge. The moments fused into one crystalline rock, like ice in a champagne bucket. Time was plunging forward, like dolphins scissoring open water or like me, following Jenny's flippers down to see the coral reef, where the color of sand, sea and sky merged, and it was as if that was all God wanted: not a wife, a house or a position, but a self, like a needle, pushing in a vein.
Henri Cole - 1956-
Waking from comalike sleep, I saw the poppies, with their limp necks and unregimented beauty. Pause, I thought, say something true: It was night, I wanted to kiss your lips, which remained supple, but all the water in them had been replaced with embalming compound. So I was angry. I loved the poppies, with their wide-open faces, how they carried themselves, beckoning to me instead of pushing away. The way in and the way out are the same, essentially: emotions disrupting thought, proximity to God, the pain of separation. I loved the poppies, with their effortless existence, like grief and fate, but tempered and formalized. Your hair was black and curly; I combed it.