95. Medusa

I wait
with hair
soft and clean,
as I imagine you would want to touch it
when you come from far beyond
to this dusty room which
(unlike my hair
– my body)
can never be clean enough.

When you walk slowly
down the deck of a ship
which has carried millions
to their pristine homes,

I will not wave
the marital hello,
nor will the smell of apples
lead you to the door.

We will walk
toward the streets
where no homes remain –
our lives tied
in ribbons and wire.

In the world inside my hair,
I used to keep fresh linen
for our latter days.

I nurtured the memory of
the scent I wore,
when you said –

I might,
might I not,
still love you more.

Now we crawl over olfactory histories
and mothers’ carpets
(all so clean,
and green
reeking of flowers from

Now we are older and
flowers do not touch you
as I once did,

there is an old perfume
in the drawer.

Dust has settled on it,
Dust now sleeps

in my hair

as you once did

(when we were younger
and there was more than filth
to remember me by).


 poem for a sailor


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