The Fourth Georgic
Sometimes a dolphin in captivity will take one last look around, close its eyes, and sink to the bottom of the tank. At the beach, we just wanted to know why the seaweed was heaping itself onto the shore in thick slick silks. When we started out, to protect myself I said, marriage is a set of limitations, but something about all the wires cutting into the visual realm suggested new forms: clouds rose dense and vertical, the horizon drew breath, had mass—aren’t we two small bodies in wild space, one organ in love with the earth? We sat in the sun and felt its steady stroke a sweetness beneath our skin. Soon, we would go inside, kiss each other’s eyes— make, as is said, love. But first I wanted to read you the story of the bees, which is also a story of bulls. The story is told twice, once as a series of imperatives and again so that the real ending is always beginning: Everywhere in the bellies of the victims Bees buzzing in fermenting viscera And bursting forth from the ruptured sides in swarms That drift along like enormous clouds in the sky And come together in the top of the tree And hang in clusters from the swaying branches. There were no trees on that island but the salt-spray burned white, an image in negative against the blueness of sky. We looked out from the porch as if from some great vantage point as the wind rushed in on invisible pinions. The water, if we were willing to swim out far enough, seemed clear. But the wind made talking unpredictable: we didn’t know what we were hearing.