You hate to dance,
feet stepping slowly between mine, arm resting
on the low curve of my spine.
We're gelatinous as our hands move out.
Reaching, they extend enough to touch
like anemone's filmy tentacles
exploring the liquid mystery surrounding them
letting water graze the tips and stroke the edges
of their sensitive supersensory antenna
in a dance of unexpected delight and fear.
We are standing in a crowded living room,
filled with vulnerability and butterflies escaping.
Standing in the room
with candles burning small, hot flames,
windows wide open to the neighbors.
We are in an ocean of light swimming
all around us as we gently extend
a hesitant arm, a smooth hand.
Washing over each other's thin fire,
skin touching air touching skin
a fragile orbit between two bodies.
This is the place the anemone touches,
straight past the soul
into copper and coal recesses.
Shining notes muted by accumulated dinge,
that we are willing to wade through, wipe clean,
patiently buff to luminous amber glow.
The desert song has entered our cells,
we no longer need our ears,
as we barely shift through air.
Back on the ocean floor,
in the glow of a mutual star,
muted white sifts down to us
in an unearthly twilight.
Sinewy kelp circles our legs
lifted by water and floating
slightly above a bed of gauzy sand.
Smoldering torches in the sky rain down
on the water dance we share,
if only for less than a pointed moment
binds us shrinking before we have fully bloomed.
Pooling wax cradles black-tipped flickering.
We have flown out into cold time
and miles extending into cryptic
reaches of disparate desolation.
Back in the glow and the warmth which seems so fake
and stiff compared to the secret life that grows
underground and remains untouched,
except in fleeting moments
when we dare to believe we are alive.
The soft moments of sudden searing pain.
This is it. A clear choice.
We take it, or crawl back
inside a hollow comfort,
and stay until our body follows mind and dies.
You are crawling back, receding, and I am crying
to the grass, to the fences, to the barbed wire,
to the anemone. I am crying
to whoever will listen. I am crying
so I won't die.
© Kristen Bernard 1995