Lace things in a hotel room, on a pier.
Your grainy bangs.
Neck, shoulders, pyre-light time of day.
Whisper of ocean in your mouth, the wish for a breathing horizon.
My old capacity
to trust: it was a gift. Speechlessly I waited.
Ideas were ovoid and hostile.
Where was she?
Even now, while you’re far off, I feel you touching me
as in the making.
Moth-like kisses on face and hands
as space opens
where the rapine of waves dispersed the grains.
Even the most un-ideated observation is an idea.
The external is selected internally.
What is outside is inside.
The idea of purple pebbles glinting on a beached thigh. Pieces of being
in the sea.
Waves advance, like your thinking not of me but of me thinking of you
and what I am in you, never purged,
even in the wished-for convergence.
Lying down for infinity:
stone legs, skin exposed to the motherless sky—
all to the pressing touch of time
on crest and purl, loss washed in surf.
Still flickering brightly: the darkest things I know.
Stephen Massimilla is a poet, scholar, professor, and painter. His multi-genre coauthored Cooking with the Muse (Tupelo Press, 2016) won the Eric Hoffer Award and many others. His new poetry collection, Frank Dark, is forthcoming from Barrow Street Press; and he is coeditor of the forthcoming anthology, Stronger than Fear: Poems of Compassion and Social Justice. Massimilla’s Previous books and awards include The Plague Doctor in His Hull-Shaped Hat (SFA Press Prize); Forty Floors from Yesterday (Bordighera Prize, CUNY); The Grolier Poetry Prize; a Van Rensselaer Prize, selected by Kenneth Koch; a Salmon Run Press Poetry Book Award citation, selected by XJ Kennedy; a dissertation on myth in poetry; several Pushcart Prize nominations; and other honors. He has recent poems in AGNI, American Literary Review, Chelsea, Colorado Review, Denver Quarterly, Gulf Coast, The Literary Review, Poetry Daily, Poet Lore, Provincetown Arts, The Southern Review, Tampa Review, Verse Daily, and hundreds of other journals and anthologies. Massimilla holds an MFA and a PhD from Columbia University and teaches at Columbia University and The New School.
[image: wave | Mark Harpur]