I heard you singing in the bedrooms

by Jerry Ratch


I heard you singing in the bedrooms with me. The down I was fond of, down of your cheek, your thighs light blonde in the light. Out of the dark, sweet bay, were you like a shining rock, shining white, undulating, a thing of heat. I remember you, yes!

Of ships, of sailors, of or belonging to the sea. Harmless and innocent, in marriageable heat, returning to the mind like an image or cult figure of the tidal marsh, tidal creek or inlet, a goddess of the returning year.

That out of the sea were born either, no one name unsusceptible. No nightly youth swim those waters, it is said, because none shall plunder the god-infested waters and get away with it uncontested.

Your tameness, gentleness shining in my hands, bringing light, giving light. Why else, after putting four pounds of mystery into the flesh, did the gods sing of you at that hour? Wash in the great sea at that hour?

Oyster stirred to produce the pearl. Pure sinew, pure nerve around stone, to remain with the living. The name nobody gave you. Pale rain surrounding your skin, shaven, scraped clean of wrath, anger.

And out of families arisen, swollen of the multitude — how many, how often out of the empty gut or palm of the hand rises the Lamb? Bells walking, loved one wearing a bell? You were so young. So like a lamb walking to slaughter.