Dominica

We share melons and papayas
beneath a sun benevolent.
A salty breeze, the river is cool,
and the passion flower blossoms
are fragile but rich. We stroke
their fragrance and sip intoxication –
we slip a little further and
I find myself afraid of love.

Papaya trees are many breasted,
the flesh of mangoes, exquisite.
My restlessness is like the surf
seeking coral lagoons.
You speak in certitudes,
I dream of them.
Beyond the coconuts shining
in your eyes
I see gazelles outrunning lions –
you laugh,
I recall November sleet.

Your stainlessness and artless joviality
are in contrast to my venery.
But in honor of your being
I play Schumann on the flute.
You respond with a noble clarinet,
Royal, but so voluptuous.

You think love means saying “Yes,”
I think love means bleeding.
You say, “That’s a grim thought.”
I say, “Life is grief.”

We are divided by that which attracts us –
even as you speak of trust
I see the void behind the stars.
You speak of freedom,
possibilities, and taking risks;
but I have been to prison:
Saturn has bound me with rings of lead,
the acid rain has stained my face.

We lay our cards out on the purple silk:
today they say I am the Hanged Man.
Are you the Queen of Swords,
or the Priestess holding
nine bright cups of Dionysian wine?
You smile and ask,
“Where, oh Where, is the
void in ecstasy?”

We strip and go against the current.
The water here is swift and cold,
the sunlight revels on your
scintillating buttocks.
I follow towards the cataract
and drink the water that has caressed your thighs.
You shriek, the monkeys leap,
and I wrestle with a jaguar.

You summon me to join you
high up on the rocks
where the moss is a foot thick.
I manage half a fervent laugh
And watch you diving into pools.

Opals ripple on the water.
We gather oleander, orchids,
Lilies and lotuses
and weave them into garlands
and in the falls we

linger in the timeless spray.

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