For Your Safety, Please Extinguish All Flames While On Board the Vessel
Just ahead of our ferry boat
a second vessel bends to pass us.
If water craft could make love
this would not be the prelude–
the wrapping of arms around thick necks
the rising tide of moist lips meeting.
Without a cable to guide our motion
we would rock and thrash until both
ships split wide open, spilling their cargo
into the furious blue-black passion below
(waters we were hoping to avoid). Like us
the ferries are engine-driven. We move
without moving, pleased for the glad-handing
from one shore to the next. The ferries are spooning
molding to fit the other’s form, the end always in sight.
Tickle, tickle, I wake up the sun
whoosh of feathers
fans my face
I am burning in the shadow
of the one crow
with a mouse in its mouth
It is possible to burn
in the shadow of something
smaller than yourself
if you rest too close
to a furnace that never turns off.
All this talk of burning
in my hands
these blisters on my feet.
I walked on the coals
because they were white.
Beach sand is hot
but never hot enough to raise
the skin from your arch.
The nurses used scissors
to pop the beautiful bubbles
cut the skin into gorgeous circles.
While my pink lilypads dried
in dusty hospital sun rays,
I floated out the window
(can’t walk on raw feet)
met a star filled with gas.
The firemen who left the coals
at the barbecue felt bad.
They brought me a Barbie
just like the doll whose feet I chewed
when I was too young to walk.