We escaped the city
of stone and politics
to seize mornings
by the balm of sea,

on porches painted
thick as enamel, gray
as the wings of seagulls
to keep the guests calm.

Entranced by clinks
of silverware and saucers,
we interlaced fingers
behind ink-smeared papers.

Clouds wouldn’t break.
We huddled most days
under waffled cotton
covers that refused to dry,

boring each other
with tendrils of foreplay.
When I suggested full-
blown sex in the bath,

you tried to oblige,
lining the narrow vessel
of porcelain with oils
from the kitchen and

the owner’s boudoir
until trapped in the slip
of pleasure and slight
discomfort. Then onto

folding you on packed
squares of cut wheat
to the blare of Sinatra,
the chaff casting off

into the dung-filled soil
of the clattering barn–
to even fucking on
the highest rungs

of the varnished oak
library ladder, sliding
to leather bindings
of auspicious titles

like The House of Mirth
we vowed to read together.
But how dangerous
this all was, that one of us

could fall, break free,
fucked out so to speak,
mired in shallows.
By buoy bells woken

we both observed
without letting on
our limbs imprinted with
the braid in the carpet,

having slept through
alarms in a coil of bliss
cooled by the whir
of constant fans.

Frenzied gulls
converged outside
on nets coming in.
I buttoned my shirt

waiting for the coffee
press to cool, watching
low tide, caught in
the ebb’s crossing

of wanting to decide.