Various and Sundry Poetry

strand

Last night, a single strand of her hair
surfaced on my pillow. All day, on the boat,
as I tried righting myself on waterskis, and failing,
I had begun to convince myself
that whatever momentum that had carried us all year
was beginning to sputter and topple.
I gripped the rope as if my life
depended on it, and still, it flew out of my hands.
On deck she was as beautiful as ever. It was not hard
to keep falling in love. When she took to the wakeboard,
her skin gleaming in the Delta sun,
it was almost heartbreaking how easy it looked.
She was floating. She was an angel.
I wanted to dive in after her like a dolphin, follow her trail.
I couldn't.
After all of my attempts to rise above the surface,
I was shivering wildly, my grip
reddened and sore. I climbed into my towel and stayed there,
head down, legs goose-pimpled. She rubbed my back
as if I were a child.
I was.
I told myself it would always be like this,
me trying to hold on to such an unwieldy ride, and she
already aloft and steady, eyes pinching the horizon.
When I came home, I thought,
Maybe this is the beginning of the end, and I began
the terrible act of curling back inside myself,
reeling my heart back in, stowing my memories in the dark.

But no.
I pulled back the cover of my bed, and there it was.
A strand of her, a slim remainder,
a micron of her body resting squarely
where her head had been just last week,
as I lay against her on a Tuesday afternoon.
And I knew
that something of her was still with me,
singing me to sleep.