After Robert Lowell
Sky still dark, still violet dark, every blade
of water seaweed-black, slick, and quiet. Waves rake
the pale gravel into sand, pulse after pulse,
under your head, and no blood draws.
The ocean becomes sapphire by degrees. You are warm;
I closely watch your dark face take its silver breaths.
Your trousers grow no sharper here, no straighter,
there is no chalk, no lime, no dirt—no trousers. Cousin,
I do not gray for fear of you for the first time.
Here, as seals, you cannot hurt me anymore.
We are nearly close. The sky and waves grow lilac gentle.
Your whiskers, white, blow long like seagrass. Fish bloom
like buttercups in this toucan reef garden,
popping out to see the seals detained so long
on the sea floor. Like you told me on shore,
we need dark ledge, bright water, and more, more blue.
Cerulean diamonds pattern on your skin. By the time
the sun rises you will not wince. Let me tell you: like poplars,
coral columns every honeyed color line the way
across the sand. The dogs will know you. Rest.
I’m here to mark this fire make its arc across the iris.
It will not take long to shudder, shed, to spend our days
in full torpedo toward the sun. The orange, finally
risen in the blue, bonds to a hard vermilion word
that cannot be unbreathed. The apricot light whispers
to your large seal eyes. In these rose-rolled
waves, raise your head cradled in sand, take in
the blue-braid gold, and own no fear.