You have learned to stay in the damp
basement among shelves of prunes,
plums and peaches stewing in jars.
It takes time for anger’s fruit to turn,
takes time to understand compression.

I have learned how to seal the glass
hood with rubber and wax, and latch
the metal clasp. When we were young
and the same age, you would hiss steam
from a slit in the pipe, and then explode

with the knife-tips of insults, the copper
peeling open like the soft rind of fruit.
I feel the tirade of the surf breaking
over my head with its rain of sand,
and still have no regrets. You are quiet

this morning, staring at the gleaming jars
by the basement windows. I feed you
sparingly in shadows now that I am older
and you remain young to keep you tame,
drugged with honey. But I am mortal

after all, prone to flashes of hurt, and
need to hear the echo of your shout
before I shout, to hear your bellowing
adagio before I go mad. I have grown
reasonable and allow you the knife,

allow you the exhale of forgiveness
albeit with your wrists tied under watch.
The day I read some racy texts destined
for a lover, I lived days of steady rain
crippling seedlings in their bed, the surge

of tides, and their receding to the clock.
Meanwhile, your blade would rotate
in the dark I kept you in, the steel light
intensifying on the turn then flattening
to glare, lingering long after it vanished.

Native of Boston and Martha’s Vineyard, MA., Stelios Mormoris is CEO of SCENT BEAUTY, Inc. He received his undergraduate degree in architecture at Princeton, and M.B.A. from INSEAD [Institut d’EuropĂ©en d’Administration d’Affaires] in France. His work has been published in CRAB CREEK REVIEW, CROSSWINDS POETRY JOURNAL, EUNOIA REVIEW, FOURTH RIVER among others.