It does not matter how a mountain found
its way into these waves. Perhaps the wind,
perhaps the war. He turns in predawn light
to find his Alma’s pale arms held as though bound


to the bedposts. Her eyes are giving back
their horde of pure darkness as though the night
were hers for good. He knows those eyes will rend
his flesh unless he paints them closed, the black


buried in swirling seas along with blood
and the morning’s first full blue as the ship
their bare bed has become shatters. The lip
of the whirlpool will be gushing with gold


flecks of foam and silver will mark the clouds.
It is the tempest and she is the bride
of the wind fitted now against his side.
He will do it right if he can just hold


himself together long enough, if he
can disentangle himself before she
feels his absence or a chill in the air,
if he can leave her there without a sound.

This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 14 Number 10, on page 34
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