May 2, 2008

Salt by Marilyn Krysl

Posted in poetry tagged , at 9:25 am by placeinthestars

Salt
by Marilyn Krysl

Now on this table a small bowl of salt, and I think
of the lagoon, quiet at midnight, in moonlight,
you in that doorway, your sarong a flare:
if I needed you you were there, offering.

The body is water and salt. A breathing sea.
Why do we think we know better than the body?
Maybe refusing the offering is the one thing
we will not be forgiven. I came from the ocean,

skin crusted with salt, and you rose and lifted
the hose from those vines and came and knelt
on the stone. I let you take my foot in your hand,
hold it beneath the water: one foot, then the other,

as though I were the god, you the petitioner.
Friend, I am lying down in the arms of your absence.
On the day of your death the world sent no signs.
I went on like a beggar without water, without salt,

the way the blind refuse what they can’t see.
If I were there I would kneel, put my lips to that stone.
I wore the sea’s scrim of salt, that fine, thin shawl:
salt you’d have tasted, if I’d let you kiss my shoulder.

***

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