I want to think of the men I love
like stones I find at the beach -
the ones at Año Nuevo
at the private beach
beyond the "No Trespassing" sign.
That's where you find the rocks
with the seashell fossils
in a secret place.
I want to be able to pick them up
and put them down
like a wild orchid
I leave where it is growing.
That would be the way
to let go
like a starfish or a moonshell,
curved, spotted like a leopard,
floating on a rivulet through the sand
all the way out to the ocean -
the way the Buddhist monks
I met high up in the mountains in Nepal
The echo of your face still orbits around me
like a familiar planet.
I can't forget
the blue grey of your eyes
full of fear and longing,
reaching for me
out of the center of an Egyptian prayer,
your strong legs
with muscles curved like shells,
and the "No Trespassing" sign.
In the late hours of the evening
I surround myself with words.
They fill up with salt water and sing,
and they make me strong.
I learn so much from my failures
that I have to bless them.
Sometimes I think we are all
intricate patterns of shell inside rock,
glowing with the memory of ancient lives.
I want to be waist high
in calla lilies,
up to my elbows
in birds of paradise
orange as the California sun
on a path leading out to the ocean
just before sunrise.
I want to sing
until I forget
the meaning of sorrow.