Early light
brightens the blue shutters, overspilling the foot of the bed we sleep in.
It is quiet yet…deep and tidal
when I hear the light
say, You will not be given to do everything you want.
I remain quiet, as nearly
poised as the edge of salt in the air that fills the room.

It may be I’ll not climb the hill
overlooking the vineyard. Or drink the wine. It may be
I’ll sit alone into the night
over a page of words as the stars make their slow
arc into
early light and erasure. It is quiet yet….
To wake you I will rise and pin my nightdress to the line

below the sill,
and bring a basin of water to the open window, offering it to the sun.
Within the white shrine
that fronts the sea, light will brighten the hem of the swirling garment
but not flood
the face of the sacred image.
I turn my head to watch you as, slowly, I rinse

my neck, my long
arms, my armpits, breasts. The covers stir. Only last night I buried
my face in a mass of flowering jasmine
and breathed in
such sweetness. I stood there as long as I could…
as long as I dared. And never once
asked if I’d been given too much. Or too little.

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

Access one piece of artwork every month for free! To experience the full archive, log in or subscribe.

Related Poetry

image of a person looking over a sunset with a flower from another shot of film over their face. they are turned away.

Argument in Memoriam


Clare Rossini

Easter Pantoum


John Terpstra



Katharine Coles



Scott Cairns

Pin It on Pinterest