Her Return

by Michael Parker

(Inspired by the motion picture Young Adam, written by David Mackenzie, 2003)

When he saw her, he was sitting on the pier smoking,
observing things writers observe, note, analyze.
He barely flinched, seeing her in that white slip
he saw her last in, riding up below swollen nipples
as if she was taking it off for him, just one more time.

She approached him submissively, face down,
eyes hidden by hair that moved with every shift
of the current. Her arms were stretched, half out,
as if she had just let go or was anticipating him,
an embrace too long in the waiting.

They used an anchoring hook. Lifting. Heaving
her from the river. Straining. The weight of water
heavy in her. She was pale as alabaster lying
on the pier.

He was on his knees handling her differently
carefully straightening splayed limbs, open legs
disheveled arms. He slid her slip down, covering
her naked extremities and then sighed. Looked
to the bay. He placed his palm on the flat place
in between her shoulders. Rested there. Then
raised his hand to her head and combed her hair
away from her face with soft, open fingers.

He closed her eyes.