young women by the ocean

By Margaret Blackburn

after Carson & Sappho

a lapful of violets[
hanging from my arm as i follow you
or you follow me. in the sand[
like music notes or honeycombs.

the questions are thick in[
          ]the way that[          ]my bitter-girl hands
          ]even the moonlight too bright.the
question marks curve in the sand.

]gilds you in silver. you take[
         hear[       ]the wind
         or in my ear;

what do you want?

conjunction
          between
                   take to answer—that
                   is[          ]spasm.
feet falter.[
          the ripgut[       ]sways
          at the edge[       ]thumbprint moon
          watches.

]begun wanting you.

easy.
          you in a mint green[
                   ]nothing
          your mouth red like[       ]slashed
                   ]like blood begging for skin
                   ]like violets or violent clichés under
                   your silver[        ]or mine

how do you know?

the water[
lover-like for your ankles[
it soothes the scar tissue
]handfuls

]short answer:
          and i envy it.[
          do we amount to
          ]hope
          and the unknowing[ ]i do
          ]curved like snakebacks.

how does it end?

many things[       ]like sun,
         prismatic[    ]spray
          ]a cruel
          ]a comfort

you and your handfuls[
          ]for blacktop
          and air conditioning

you and your question
-mark curves.

your disenchanted
mouth.

         ]we part like sun from horizon.
you go back[           ]the day begins.

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