She was on her knees straddling him,
her loose hair, cresting over his chest.
It felt like he’d always crooned
slightly off key in her ear,
as he nuzzled the nape
of her neck, examined the creases
in her palm, rapt
as if she were the pony
he’d begged for each Christmas as a boy.
He ran his calloused thumb
across her lips and she suckled it,
his knuckle salty and a little sweet.
His plush thighs pillowed hers.
She draped the sheets
over their heads, his musk
like forest loam, his hands were at home
steering her hips.
Together, the shattering.
She was unabashed by the animal
sounds she’d made
and when he said, I love you,
his voice rumbling
as if up from an underground cave,
(that phrase her mother dared not utter,
a phrase, she’d needed to hear as a child),
she felt it resound and swell, saturating
her every thirsting cell.
You can’t fix it—
the tsunami in your heart after his death,
…………..the flux and stillness in its wake.
Sun torching the pasture.
…………..The stubborn ground parched to dust.
You can’t fix —
The ice storm in Portland, calved
…………..off glaciers in the Arctic.
Your sister’s cancer. At the healer, her wish—
…………..a peaceful death.
…………..splinters your dark corners.
You know you’re here to be
…………..broken. Nothing to fix.
Not the rift between you
and the sun, not the one
…………..between you and the sea.
Laura Jan Shore teaches poetry in northern NSW. She won the Martha Richardson Poetry Prize (2012) and the FAW John Shaw Nielson Award (2009). Her poetry collections include Breathworks (Dangerously Poetic Press, 2002), Water over Stone (Interactive Press, 2011), Afterglow (Interactive Press, 2020). Her work appears in literary journals across four continents.
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