Kari Larson, Green Leaves
1. She walks away, the charming curve of her back to him
While cloud shadow merges with the glare and salt
Of the winter shore, with wet, grainy sand,
And stealthily, the penumbra of perception emerges
While he waits for her to turn, the green space between
The words as yet unseasoned by time, a reflection, surely
Of too many days spent in his sterile, undemanding cubicle
And not enough on this beach. Years before, they were here,
The sweet strawberry zest of life together still shone
Between them. She ran ahead then too, little-girl-like,
To chase the gulls into startled flight, to be the first to dip
Her toes into the Pacific. Now she names him, “Philistine,”
As she pulls her Puerto Rican pride about her,
Shaking her donkey’s jawbone, anger warring with fear
Obvious in every flash of her eyes, every taut sinew.
There had been an ancient maple behind the rural school
He attended as a child. Every spring the leaves,
Starry explosions of green fascinated him. She
Does that too, even now, when she leaves him, floundering
With the driftwood, washed up by the iron-green of the sea.
2. Wish for moonlight, the sea is all there is.
All waves go somewhere, yet break on the past
A wash of strawberry roan sunrises
Over tides of wet, waist-high winter grass.
Between depths and shore, the fisherman stands
Blithely flinging about his net of night
While children chasing butterflies on strands
Of sand and dust, ignore the coming white.
Mundane mess of books, pots, an old wool coat,
Water-splotched leaves of African violets,
A place where someone (somewhere?) just awoke
To the scent of coffee. Not many get
How close we skirt the edge of the knife.
Oh bliss, bliss missed, my one regret in life.
3. I stand on the beach of forever (Amen)
with a song on my lips, my face, to the wind.