Buoy the population of the soul
Toward their destination before they drown
~ Robert Pinsky
April 2021
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Thursday, 8. April 2010

A Wedding Sequence

for A

[1] Gulmohars in Gudalajara

In the square where revolutionary heroes
Converse with saints about godlessness,
These trees of memory emerge from
The morning fog, like ships with flags
At half-mast entering a safe harbor.

Everything I was then has been forgotten
In streets that have since changed
Their names, their faces. I haven't seen
These trees in years now, like those whom
I left in farewell by the Bay of Bengal.

If I grow silent when you put a blossom
In your hair, in jest for a photograph,
Know these flowers, shaped like torn
Hearts, remind me of those I have lost
To gain you in this far country.

[2] Memory’s Flyway

The vision is of water. Off heaven’s coast
I am afloat in the Pacific, not sinking as I
Would have once, farther beyond into the dark
Which hides beyond the glitter of coral fish.
Off Arcos, when I force my visor into the brine

I see the line of bubbles streaming from
The glimmering body below, syllabic like a haiku.
The mind empties itself in the tropical heat.
Lunch, and hike to an ice-cold waterfall follow.
So another good day passes with little speech.

The ferry coasts against the pier, and then sputters
To life as the anchor lifts and its engines belch. The route
Back, as dusk falls, is along the flyways of humpbacks –
Much like how memory swims back to memory.
I had to lose sight of gulmohars blooming in

Guadalajara’s squares to remember them again,
As I sit up with Caravaggio's saints in vigil.
As our books nuzzle against one another, tawny
Evening rests its spine on the cooling sand.
I am at rest, I think, at the edge of your continent.

[3] Past Presents

...itself in flashes. Tender extremities
Of spring perhaps bring it life. That hill above
Vernazza at dawn, that cold shell of a room
With thrum of waves crashing into the Ligurian
Cliffs, feet touching feet under a grandmother's quilt.

Then that afternoon rising up in the funicular
To the tiny square of Capri - again a brilliance
Of blue all the way to looming Vesuvius.
Montale on the mind, overlaid on the crouching
Cart driver statured into silence by Pompeiian lava.

I have struggled to reconcile even farther memories
With these presents, hiding behind this jagged
Tone of hurt. Your perplexity as simple as the starfish's
Trash when I took it out of the Pacific shoals at dusk,
Below the lighthouse, after our quick morning quarrel.

There is a coast I realize I have stumbled upon,
Where memory wanders through the seaside vistas,
Sieving the past to speckle the present. It is
Your nuzzled body curved against a seeking blindness
Of mine, as our lived past surges and retreats

Like a drowsy sea at sleep's coast, Radhika.

My Poems

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