Ruth Rowe

mary baldwin graduates

heather

this sky is endless
where I stand, blue
as slate, heavy as wool
woven heather-colored
cloth, to smother and cloak
us in its folds

this coastal wind is cold,
teeth wettened with a promise
of rain, graying the rocks
with patinas of bay silt
tidal shore moist, slick
from the sky as much
as from the brackish sea

these stones are round
and I stand upon them, blue
limestone and rusty kidney ore,
worn soft by the lips of tides
the rushing daily waters
rocking grebes and detritus
in their old, unforgiving arms

this sky is wide enough
to humble me, to sweep up
my voice to join the seabirds
there is a mirror in the high water
waiting to return again
two skies and twice as deep
clouds upon clouds, broken
by lapping tongues on rock

your hand is smooth
in mine, pale as quartz veins
rubbed long in the sea
I will lead you across
this moony shore, we will pick
gold chamomile blooms
to soak, rest our tired eyes

these clouds are towering in
their evening fires, heather
moor sky melting into skin
flushed in the wind
I want to pull your hands
from inside your woolen coat

 

the imbalance

beauty is too wide
and heavy to hold
cupped as down in my hands
or in my mouth or arms

a saffron sky and cloth,
welling
smallness in my lungs
inside tree inhaling
and giving and at a loss

beauty slips inside
as all else falls
the clouds afire go ashen
skin shifts heavily, pressed
bone on bone without the ease
of any suppleness

in setting and rising
in rushing, scouring tides
filling the mouth
of a river filling the sea

in the sun glittering
between beech branches
and the petals of beech leaves
catching dark veins in the green
the light as gold pearls
wavering in the wind

great tall trees, in their arms
taking the light
giving the air and I give

and I take like water slipping
between my cupped and closed fingers