I have a reading tonight, and I will be reading this poem, which I wrote while we were on vacation in the UP. We were staying at the Bay Furnace Campground and had returned from the Pictured Rocks boat cruise and tour, and were taking a stroll along Lake Superior after dark. I had been struggling with the honeymoon poem for my Geraldine Chapbook and had made several false starts, but sitting in the darkness with BB, sitting on a log looking at the stars and moon and listening to the quiet ripples, I had a new idea for the honeymoon poem and wrote this in my tiny pocket notebook in the dark with no light.
The Smell of Sun
A swell of water rises, curls and falls to the sand,
tinkling like tiny bells, opening an "ah" in Geraldine, opening
a space inside, in darkness where once she was solid like a rock,
opening an internal ear horn that listens for a sound like bits of ice
dropping into fragile glass. She watches as another
wave follows, as soft and sweet as the first, and then a third.
In shining darkness, waves angle against the shore. The quiet
singing of their touch passes along the sand from right
to left. Ricky's hand warms Geraldine's in the cooling night,
and she squeezes it, laughing aloud at the quick squeeze back.
The full moon the guardians teased about ("perfect
for your honeymoon") casts a single shadow on the sand,
echoes Geraldine's body leaning into Ricky's. Fireflies
blink on and off along the sand, in the bushes, and out
over the water, mirroring a wilderness of stars. Wisps
of mist, lit by moonlight, drift over the lake, thicken and gather
in the bays and between the hills. Down the beach, a lone boat
stands out in silhouette against the moon path.
Geraldine wiggles her toes in the sand and snuggles closer
to Ricky and says "oh" and "oh," again. She breathes
the smell of sun from his skin, the clean, sweet smell
of his body. His arm, circling her shoulders, draws her
yet nearer, presses close. Then, a moment later, he tugs
her to her feet. They walk barefoot down the beach
to their honeymoon cottage, to the bed turned down
and waiting for them, scattered with daisies,
to the sheets that smell of cedar and lavender,
like sunshine, like love. After they drop their clothing
to the floor, after they pull the sheet cool to their chins,
before they turn toward each other, they watch a star fall,
blue and flickering over the water, steaming
into the ripples like misted flame.
Mary Stebbins Taitt
-----this line and everything below this line are not part of the poem------- 080729--1533--2d; 080718; 1st Written 7-18-08 at Bay Furnace Campground on the shore of Lake Michigan near midnight in my pocket notebook without a light. Details from our own experience. The reading copy has the names of Jake and Luisa, Al and Lily removed
the blog format always messes with the formating of the poems, too bad.