It’s Not Often

In the canoe, in my heart, the dark of her curls blend with the gold of sunrise.

With water glassy we paddle, unison’s time, rhythm’s endearing.

Over her shoulder she smiles. Hope leaps. Love pains at future’s parting.

It’s not often colors blend such as these.

Mercurial silver of water. Hazel of eye. Red of lips.

It’s not often to welcome falling into depths like those below …

… when she must leave.

 

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I Certainly Hope So.

We must live within them from time to time. Clouded mist and gray skies. But then emerges blue-sky dreams filled with hope. Hope tugs our hearts and souls on ghost threads tangible as steel and delicate as ether. Strong as any weapon while fragile as love’s fading kiss. How strong are your hopes? And how weak? And do you hope at all? I certainly hope so.

And so should you.

I Might Imagine

I might imagine, or I might not, that love is a smile beneath a small straight nose, deep brown eyes, and dark chocolate tresses falling around my face as she sits above me.

I might imagine, or I might not, that over her head, green leaves laugh in the summer breeze, and lake waves lap whispers against round stones.

I might imagine, or I might not, a soft kiss, moist and tender, warm upon my lips, and the brush of fingertips at my brow, with words of welcome.

I might imagine, or I might not, a mountain trail, rough with stones for tripping, slow with time for talking, waterfalls crisp with splashing, and the summit for rest.

I might imagine, or I might not, two sets of footprints pressed into wet sand, hands clasped, sun overhead, and at night, stars.

But I shall not imagine, for I could imagine more that would not be imagining, for I am thankful, grateful more than I can say, reaching for her hand over twenty years hence from dreaming, and still we laugh, sigh, love.

And we imagine.

When I Died

When I died I fell face first into the snow, oh, the icy crust, the millions of tiny crystalline knives.

When I coughed my lung’s bright blood upon the blanket of white, I realized I would never see her again.

When I realized I would never see her again, I willed my heart to beat, though powerless to have it beat forever.

When my breaths slowed, stopped, and when my heart faltered, stopped, and when my eyes closed, I willed my soul to join another …

And he fell, and another, and he fell, and another, and she fell, and half-a century later I live, a mist, a memory, a dream desired, a hope unrealized.

And yet, I love, and yet, life offers me hope, if only in the most fleeting moments.

Once we lay beneath an oak. It was an ancient thing, gnarled and gray-barked, branches hanging low over the wide river, leaves twisting in the daytime breeze, whispers of young love’s yearning desire.

And natures faint aromas, the gray smell of water on the air, leaf mold and earthy hints of times past, and her hair, as if she rinsed her silky strands with morning rain captured just for her within the petals of a rose.

And at night, oh, at night, beside the fire, millions of stars, constellations, a meteor’s dim minute streak, the oak’s leaves aflutter, matching moth’s wing beats around a lantern.

The stuff of dreams, the dreams of hope, soft whispers, softer kisses, love’s final goodbye.

When I died.

So What Do You Say.

So what do you say when she says she loves you. When its what you’ve wanted to hear for so long that it seemed she didn’t know the words existed. When you’re standing there trying to swallow your surprise that you were never expecting it. Do you just stare? Do you just watch the way her nostrils flare as she waits, the delicate arch of her brows as they rise slightly, turning into question marks? Or is it that now you can’t speak, that you can barely breath, or that your throat tightens with all you’ve wanted to say for so long that it’s become a dam beneath your tongue? Or, as your eyes take in hers, the hazel coloration, the slight squint as they smile, are you lucky enough to know that you’ve both said it all.

Crash-swish.

Misshapen cotton ball clouds hang over a night time sea

lit underneath by humanity.

Stars elicit emotion, winking million-year-old light

into the eyes.

Waves crash-swish, crash-swish, earth’s eternity

turning shells to sand, emotions to dreams, hopes to love.

Chill breeze, warm hands, lips, hearts.

Crash-swish, crash-swish. …

Honeymoon Evening

She glanced at him, at his blonde curls, at his broad shoulders, his large hands.

I wonder. … What will it be like to have him slip my dress off my shoulders, letting the moonlight play along my tanned body. Will he be rough, tender, passionate, or not give a damn.

I wonder. …

He turned, gazed at her, placed his hands on her shoulders and ripped the dress down to the seam. Then he picked her up gently, carried her to the soft quilts, the blankets, the pillows, the firelight painting his jaw orange. …

In the background she could hear the river slipping by, its never ending wash against stone and tree, the slew of it in a whirl around the base of the old oak they lay under.

That’s how I feel. That’s how he makes me feel. Swirling madness, desire, hope, sadness that he’s leaving after our one night honeymoon. And in the morning I’ll die; I’ll cry a flood and the river take me.

And Tomorrow Faded

He glanced into the canopy, leaves fluttering like moths around a lamp on a late summer night, and he sighed.

“What are you thinking,” she asked.

“That I hate how this day has to end, how the morning will come and we’ll have to go back.”

“But we’re here for now,” she said.

“Yes,” he said, “but still. …”

“Then don’t let tomorrow ruin tonight.”

He raised up on elbow. The moonlight flickering through the leaves reflected in her eyes, and he kissed her.

She traced his features with her fingertips, delicately, enticingly, and tomorrow faded, a ghost, a whisper, gone.

Warm, Wet, Sand. A short story.

The sea oats brushed against her bare shoulder, tanned, lithe, and she stepped out onto the beach, the sand hot against the soles of her feet. She dropped her sandals and slid them on and looked at him.

“You’re going to need your shoes soon.”

He walked faster. “I’ll be okay.”

“I warned you.”

The sun was a singular point of magnified warmth in the sky. Waves of heat rose from the long stretches of sand on either side of them as they hurried to the water.

He stopped and sat on the cooler, holding his feet above the sand.

“I told you you’d need your shoes.”

He stared up at her. Her sunglasses reflected his expression and her floppy hat shaded her face. “What can I say,” he said. “You were right.”

“Aren’t I always?”

“No one is always right.”

“But I’ve got a good record, you’d agree.”

He got up from the cooler, ready to make a run for it. “Yes. I’ll admit that. Let’s go.”

He took about five more steps, stopped again and got on the cooler and fanned his feet, their soles almost as red as the steamed crab they ate last night.

“Geez,” he said. “I should have worn my shoes.”

She smiled down at him from under the hat. “Where have I heard that before?”

He glanced up, a half-smile at the corners of his mouth. “You know how much I love you, don’t you?”

She shook her head. “Yes, but I’m not giving up my sandals.”

“You won’t even consider it? Not for just a few steps until I can get my feet in the water?”

“You like my feet,” she said. “Do you want to see them looking like yours?”

He thought for a moment. “You’re right. When we go to dinner later, I’d like to see you wearing those sexy high heels you bought this morning without your feet looking like they had been microwaved.”

“I thought you’d see it my way.”

He got up and started off again, faster this time, his multicolored swim shorts swishing about his legs, but he soon stopped and jumped back onto the cooler. He considered putting his feet inside but didn’t care to dirty their ice.

“You could wrap your feet in the towels,” she said.

“I don’t want to get them dirty. We’re going to lie on them in a few minutes.”

“Okay. It was just a suggestion, Mr. lobster feet.”

He glanced up at her and smiled.

She felt sorry for him, but she wasn’t about to give up her shoes.

A few moments later, they were off again, running toward the waves, each with a hand on a cooler handle and each hopping on one sandal a piece.

Isn’t love grand, whether standing, sitting, or running together toward the warm, wet sand?

Without Spice

a single silky warm raindrop

clings to her nose.

brown eyes see through me

clear, luxuriant.

lashes blink.

moist lips

oh to taste.

all this and more

twenty-one years

or twenty-one hundred.

she listens

she supports

she understands

trust runs rampant

as does respect.

are there differences?

of course

but what is life

and a relationship

marriage

friendship

without spice.