Thursday, April 29, 2010

28/30 "Lake Doris to Gus Wood" by Gus Wood

I suppose the moonlit North Carolina nights
made me your romantic,
tempted you to call me your lover in poems,
tempted you to call our time spent together
a kind of intimacy,
and I am just the sort of sweet smelling bull frog
symphony to let you.

We were only together for summer times,
and even then our trysts seemed
ended all too soon by the beep of a watch,
the bugle announcing the girls' turn
to distract us.
You began clumsy,
pillaging the still calm of my waters
with the ugly slap-smack of a canoe paddle.

Silly summer-camp child,
you tried to touch me inexperienced.
You tried to navigate every nuance
of my body with awkward unlearned strokes,
I waited for you to grow up.

And you did,
Your arms became strong and skilled.
Still in your canoe, the blunt broad tool
finally granted you grace,
transformed all of your body
into pure touch.
Your biceps transfigured
into the pink muscle of throat,
your hands molded into a lover's lips,
and your paddle,
became your tongue tracing across
my body.

I still ripple echoes of this compassion even now.

But even this touch, this bliss,
was foreplay.
A waiting game until you found yourself
at home in a small-ish plastic kayak
at the edge of the dock.
Nervous, cold, and short of breath,
you plunged, deep.

The water struck your face, untender.
I finally had to teach you the lesson
of a water's womb.
Ingrain, into your shut tight eyes,
the skewed perception of a kayak,
of my embrace.
I had to teach you to survive
when your instincts are flawed.

Tethered to your vessel,
you fell.
You capsized into me, breathless.
Upside down,
you must not gasp,
thrash, claw for something
you are certain will save you.

This sort of action spells death.
My child, in my loose grasp you learned
to stay calm, bubble ration your breath,
hear the slow echo drum of the depths
as Gospel.
With my kiss at your lips,
your right became left,
your up became down,
you learned roughly to ascend.

You learned to right yourself,
with an armor forged of opposites,
of focus, of the lessons taught to you
by others just as in love with me as you were,
are, and ever will be.

Use your paddle,
set your leverage,
thrust your hips,
strike the water.

You emerged from the dark wet,
like a new born.
Water burning your nose,
and your old instincts sinking
to the bottom.

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