to the Rock and Fossil Museum opposite, to look at squares
of marble in the gallery: Italian griotte, mud-brown and milk-speckled; noir de sable, a soft black streaked with white hair.
A slice of jaspe ou va like a dish of peach and cream jello
quivering in warm kitchen light. From the St. Maximine quarries,
jaune ambre stippled with white lobes and pale markings of tan.
Languedoc, like day-old blood; and vert d’estour, a snowy screen
or low-pressure area. When I returned home, the sky had cleared.
I put the zucchini away and made a pot of soup. I wiped down
soapy skin after the youngest daughter’s evening bath, distributed
Stroking my thigh, I hummed myself to sleep.
And you, safely rocking in the crook of my mind, inclined
your head chastely, dreaming of uncomplicated things
like watercress, steamed rice, and crackers.
In the still warm light of summer evenings, dragonfly wings
like gathered teardrops, veined with the same fine mesh
that brushes our faces. Sheer as cloth thrown over the form
of some other life, pulsing in mid-air without regret,
without regard for applause. Between times our bodies come
together like seams so that living matters, so we remember
the heart ringed by fire and not the suffering stitched
generous in the gaps. The room shimmers like calcite.
Our mouths are paved with sandalwood, with jasmine.
Eventually the wicks burn down to the metal plate; each
flame’s a doorway to pinch open with bare fingertips. Everyone,
dear heart, everyone lives in the shadow of the Sacre Coeur.