Poem of the Month: Islanders

He strokes her hip, smoothes her
as if she were wet clay
her mother sits nearby
tries not to watch
her daughter shape herself to him

The party floats around them
music like a hungry cat
slides against their lolling dance
the mother recalls her own hands on that rounded body
her fingers curl toward deserted palms
her lap lies hollow
an abandoned nest
in a felled tree

His lips sculpt slow words, barely smile
he bends his neck to arch over her
supple beneath the cowl of his heat
the mother recalls, too, lodging once herself
in the swollen niche
her daughter now inhabits
seagirt colony of two

She turns chastely away
searches the dark sky through window-glass
their reflection overlays the night
wavers among the constellations
the mother rises, pockets her hands
unmoored lightship, she drifts out of the room
her wake slaps unnoticed
at her daughter’s back


“Islanders” was published in the anthology Exquisite Reaction, Andrew Mountain Press, Hartford, CT, 2000.

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