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Poetry

Santa Cruz Island

A white cotton shirt like my wife’s
Loose over her

Shoulders I’m thinking just
Brushing

Her breasts

But Provençal or Basque this
Woman or

Italian perhaps

Not blonde not Dutch but her skin like
Skin like the peel

Of skin next the bulb of a tulip
The scent

Of her the scent

Of her tree its oranges luring us after
Her after she

Sailed from two mainlands sailing
The second

Nursing her root stock (her starting
This up) in the

Moist nest of her shirt

Caressing the graft-welt—one-hundred
Years and eleven

All these conclusions
I’m reaching through surf at the harbor
Rimed by salt cobbles

Juries of godwits

The white ranch house’s adobe
Island oak sashes

Oak timbers

Lungs of the canyon inhaling
What matters if

Not this orange that

Love faring so distant so near
So astringent so

Sweet tracing

Jaw line and earlobe white blossoms


The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

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