Monday, September 29, 2003

Rah-rah, Sis-boom-bah

a cheer with seven faces

I. By the swept shores
away from Pompeii,
volcanic with ash,
we shed our inhibitions
and entered the cool gray sea,
unabashed until our clothes were stolen.
Along the pebbled beach
we laughed until the tears
filled the Adriatic
and Alexander would approve.

II. A candle,
short and flickering,
has been lit for me
at the Vatican.
But it is weak
and the wick
has gone blue and traveled faster
than the wax
will allow.

III. An intercontinental cheering squad
is all of one wish, yet
the cheers and chants
the longing looks to field
are not reality enough.
The home team,
dancing on foreign soil,

IV. And I have fought
against a dead man,
and I have lost.
The dead man’s love,
once visited,
is stronger, still alive.

V. A poem,
short and flickering
has been written for me.
It is tempted with light and dark
and a sun
in a broken morning
like the first morning.

VI. At the Saybrook breakwater,
where dead husbands return
to be living fathers,
we stretched out in the cool sand,
our bodies lightly touching,
our fullness playing out
under dawn’s first glance.
In that early morning pre-light
there was no sound
except the waves
and two bodies becoming one.

VII. The bell above the crematorium
shudders five times
as the heat
eats the flesh
leaving the gray ash of bone
and a spring-like memory.
I shudder to think of the heat,
a consummation
of what was once joy
and whispers.

First published in Skipping Stones, September 2003.

Copyright 1983-2003 by Peter A. Stinson.
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry 360 with permission of the author.

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