Deep within the wooden window seat was Anne’s story. The one she wrote the night it happened. It wasn’t meant to be poetic or literary. Stored away underneath the old newspapers, beach blankets, forgotten piciinic cutlery. As deep in the well of the seat as it could go. And, since it was just a few pages, it hadn’t been noticed by anyone, and it had been forgotten by Anne.. But it had remained there for years. Through summers when sandy feet trampled in and out of the beach house, through winters, hurricains even. The water surging in and retreating, in the same exact rythym every few seconds, for days and then years. Always present. Within that wooden box, a beating heart with a secret life.
The light from the hosues closest to the dunes look like little lanterns. Everything else is dark and the sand is starting to grow colder on the surface. Deeper down under the soft layer, it’s warm. Burning hot to touch all day.
Crazy ocean where I swam until my lips were completely covered in salt.
He talks and talks and he tells me about his dreams and I think his dreams are shallow. I think he is ignorant. And, that square face that just weeks before held masculity has given way to pathos, but I don’t pity him. I detest him. My Rachael says I am cold hearted to men who love me.I imagine it all tangled up in a net. His hands, his calloused fingers pulling up from the water and I can see that this dream will never come trueHow do I say this kindly-as Rachel advised- but I look at the houses down the coast line and the little illuminations from inside the far away beach houses look like fireflies. You see I simply long to be done with this.
The ocean murmers rhtymically and the air is warm and thick with salt. There is one way for him to escape the hummiliation. Somehow I run into the darkness and to the shore where the ocean grows thunderous, a storm approaching. He reaches for me and it takes so little to bring me to the ground, the cold wet sand, silt like and I feel I am being swallowed and the waves break and reach me, wash over my face so the air is disappearing, each wave less to breathe. Then less. His hands groping to tear me apart. First my pretty dress. I find I am holding a stone. All this time. I raise my free hand and I strike his face, his nose broken. His eyes furious. He will kill me now, this is what he says. But then someone behind him, pulls him off me and he runs and I am covered in sand and sea water. I am drenched in his blood. I don’t even know I’ve been hurt.
“The poet’s mind is in fact a receptacle for seizing and storing numberless feelings, phrases, images which remain there until the next creation.” T.S. Elliot
*** She was thinking about the girl’s poem. Evie. The girl. Red hair always loosened from its clip, a few strands falling down touching her face. She reads aloud in class. “Death’s beautiful dance is over,” the girl looked up at Anne. Then glanced around the classroom. "It’s form, isn’t it Evie? The visual dimension of the poem was apparent: the way the words descended the page. Just like autumn leaves?" Anne asked the class.
"See? It’s very nice.”
See? It was just the maple leaf. One leaf.
That was the seduction. But seduction of who? Or of what? Anne caught herself. She had the feeling again. It was that feeling laying flat on her heart and wrapping around all those parts of her: her ribs, her stomach, her lungs. Beating. Beating. The one with light gray eyes. “She’s sublime isn’t she professor?” Anne’s eyes examine him and she measures her speech. “That’s not appropriate.”
The ocean rushing in, then no retreat.
In the café, there were rosy cheeked girls in knitted tights and clogs, with leather bags over their shoulders. The boys --as always-- the same. Time does not change boys. Don’t we all know this by now? At one time. One point in time. So large in our youth.
The café. Large glass windows fogged up with steam. Salty dough. Fresh pasta boiling. And the garlic. Anne savored all of it. Poems to be commented on. Line breaks, Little signals,
(By now it must be evening.)
“One sec” the waitress said and Anne’s mind returned to a poem. Two unrelated ideas, finding construction: man and woman. Or two lovers just the same.
*** The young man on the concrete bench. Anachronism. Maybe thirty. “professor. Professor.” The first time: what did he say in class? Sublime? Before that, the first day, “I am generally, interested in alternative foundations of mathematics including category theory.” “Well, if you find a way to make it poetry, then you’re in the right place.” Then what did he say to Evie? What did Evie do? She was frightened wasn’t she? Black sweater and light brown hair with shades of blonde in it.
things we inherit Improbable costumes legacies
*** I’m working Professor. I’m working on a poem.” Anne looked up at him over the frame of her glasses. “Are you a poet?” “I’m in your class.” “Yes. You are.”
She could feel his presence as she walked over the storne bridge on the path to Frankin Building.
the blood of all lives running still, gushing then trickling ask me
Anne smiled. “well, I don’t know about that. Percy was a poet. Mary was not. Percy knew the power of words to create metaphor and meaning. Their Have into posess. Felt into endured. Inside to within. End to extinction.
“Don’t tell them how to feel. You see?”
*** This student: we recognize lines and curves, blank pages, a circle and two dots zig zaggy mouth; because her mother’s boyfriend beat her up,
“All right–What’s the metaphor?“ But Anne knew already.