by Bret Lawrence
We lead each other down by the lighthouse –
further out there are men fishing
on a sand bar that we can’t see,
their ankles disappearing in water
beneath the shackles of light.
You toss a sun-swollen blackberry
and I catch it in the bottom of my mouth.
The horseflies race above us
jockeying for bare skin.
We run with them, cantering
down lanes of hot grass
our sweaty hands swinging
through the air, back and forth,
in the same way that the lighthouse beam
often ricochets across the water at night.
We identify birds with a pocket guide
that my grandfather gave me –
Forms huge flocks in fall and winter
often with grackles or other blackbirds;
Female has no red shoulder patch.
A crane suns itself amid yellow cactus flowers
with its long neck and legs outstretched –
During courtship, small groups gather and dance.
You carry me into the sandy reeds
and we do the alligator death roll
unsure who will break apart first.
It is hard to be afraid of anything right now.
A stranger predicts the American apocalypse,
and our stone fruit lips tremble
with excitement. When I kiss you, it’s like
a red hot cherry in god’s mouth.
At the end of the day, we take off in my car,
in the belly of a burning black marsh bird.
Long life-span. Untidy nest. Sings at dawn.