Perihelion: An Online Journal of Poetry and Mayhem
The Phoenix Issue, No. 16, Winter 2008


Leaving Moorea

On the deck of the boat we see
the many white birds that fly with the ferry, hover
swaying so close overhead they pull the spirit

from our hearts as we watch—. And not far,
as we look back, the lush mountain peak with
the hole in it— as if a mighty god

had punched a fist clear through it so we could see
with our eyes the necessity of separation.  
Yet how rock and air circle each other

round and round as we move away—
A black frigate swoops low and snatches a fish
from the beak of a white bird trailing

just above the wake, a thief, gorgeous in his
power and speed.  And I wish to never reach
our destination, to hold here

on the sea between the glimmer of two islands—
two lives. The two gates we know: one opening
to heaven, the terror and the beauty of

the unseen world.  The other never far: 
doubt— free-wheeling fear, the demons of
Cioran’s despair waiting for us to falter,

to give our gifts away—. But as the sun goes down,
it fractures the darkening clouds that gather over
the island with bursts of fiery light, and for an instant,

we forget how apart we are no matter
how close. Your arm slung over my shoulder with
rare ease and joy, the natural world singing.