The Tile Mural in Your Mother's Shower
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It's no longer the coast of Italy. So long;

to another world, when seen from the water all oceans and vines

in reverie, lightly frosted by hours over years

of hot showerheads and skin sleeping in airs, and your long hair.

Fissures of lightning love heat had for one, the simple comfort of water on

your neuter body, shaky hands. Whose olive beams

sunblend through globules hanging off of your finger-hairs

and glow, you glow like a village, an experiment in populous color.

And arcology and arcades tumble 'round the bay—bugs bray—

aqueducts spill their sugarwater into saltwater

and grapeleaves trining round a corridor to

a field of crowded green, like the blurred day

before one first wears new glasses. What a scene! Had we all known

our favorite colors you'd have said green of a shower that morning.

Green as a sun sparking off sweet Mary's grass. A clarity in the trees.

And if I hear you coughing then I back away

from the ceramic tub, into the hallway with its faded red rug

and flower-wilting, ornamental as all collected goods and services snug in this kitenest

and looking back through the swung door.

The tiles stained the lightest pink and white stand vagrant

and a puzzle to be solved. So many pale tiles two set horizontal,

two and two and two turned pale. And in mornings these no longer are window-tiles

only stones of the Theater Royal, repurposed. An aled Amalfi coast revolved by

a young Dane—it would have had mountains, horizons,

but here in this company staged for your viewing

every morning of early days, pre-transition, the heat ruins,

the tile of sky-sea, their meeting, that would have clammed between

pillar and castle is instead a field of bright gray. A crouching sailboat,

a shadow of a thumbnail, rests like a fly on the empty space.

There on that dot with you, I'm a fool, cutting my clothes into sails.

So we cut down on love-yous. The sea, in this case,

if not a pause, is to say of us too much. So we need a new vase.

And we leave places, and again till nothing to leave. Then there, then there,

under solar panels I'd sleep. On the deck sacrificial1—a home that be travel—the skiff! so we

can go and take our tangled roots and bodies overseas:

(And be something sweet, huddling in the cold

on the dark seas, at night, when the shower is turned off,

and the disorders ordered and the thoughts are all warm stock.

So when friends send us letters, to a box on the coast

we deftly intercept them, sailing by soapstuff.

And when you die first, tell me where the sun has gone.

Why the light's on the pier when the ceiling/sky's still soft,

where we should have come ashore, when instead we stayed aloft.

In the art, we grip booms, with our pup to-be-a-dog.

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