santo spirito

the angel humbles before her and she with her book raises her other hand
as if to a man offering stolen watches, "not interested"—she looks comfortable,
perhaps the chair was made specially—between them the showy tiles, a vase
with three dark flowers, her hand stays as it is—

when the child is born she becomes younger, more innocent, naïve, she wears
her blue cloak constantly—becomes younger until, in the end, the pietà, who knows
but she is younger than the son—

sighting (nova scotia)

you say it is a cloud formation not land but when two mornings later true mist
rolls in we know we are missing something—was it just a strip of darker water over
the horizon—a craggy one line list of the missing: sex, romance, tourism, humidity
obscured by the new baby, the baby, discipline, weather, will—our work, our work,
the distance to town, the meager produce, slippery rocks and what was for a moment
a whale on second look just driftwood behind a buoy—

the sea today has got a grudge against something—look! I say, waves! and the baby
waves—a gull on the low-tide rocks tries to lift but is blown back and forced to land—
again and again—wanting, wanting in spite of—

the shore

once a virgin, one can change and change back—but once a mother
always—she was not a conduit or vessel but holy messenger, chosen—they were all
taking and wanting and swore his leaving made him stay, would make him
deep in the heart of the people—but what mother wants a child deep in the heart
of the people—how then should she guard him, watch, gather?

his body a seed within her, a tadpole or parasite— docile, lazy child: animal born
in captivity—what was new about him? only that he made her a mother,
round with waiting—patient like all famous women, her blue like the part of the sea
none survive—when she looks again he is a trilliant-shaped glimmer, bitter
jewel—what is real? house, body, tide?—the water is too cold for anything, the house
velvety, badly decorated—it is a sin to stay inside—be rather by the edge—

in cities elevators never fail to sicken—too many things inside others—
but here, the sea itself and its ambivalent rushing— back and forth, towards
and fast away does not unsettle—largely a house myself, I have, when seated,
a kind of balance and from my gray chair are everywhere windows and color
and in the distance the thin blue promise of what I know must be another coast—