Monday poem

gailGail Entrekin edits an online poetry journal called Canary that focuses on poets’ “engagement with the natural world.”  If you like the poems I post, I’m sure you’ll enjoy reading her excellent selection of work.  Here is a poem of Gail’s. I like its fearless exploration of aging, its unapologetic ambivalence, and especially the ending:

Before Making Love

Finally, we tell the truth: how death’s been
hovering at the door, muttering threats and banging
in the long night, how reason takes flight
like a circling falcon over its nest of flapping
fear, how you sometimes wander out into the ocean fog,
how I am so angry I cannot speak, that you
who took the vow, would drift down the beach
accept the icy water, leave me to lift the heavy boat
lock the oars, paddle the hard night, looking
for you; leave me to rake the sand,
build the park, martial the troops, while
you stand down there, your pant legs sloshing
in the water, smiling at the crows,
not helping, not helping at all
with the work of life, just because
you are leaving soon. And I don’t want
this version of myself. I want to fall
adrift beside you, am terrified that I
will fall adrift beside you, that the two
of us will wade out into the cold
grey sea. And I don’t want this version
of you, timid and silent, waiting to be told
bumping along tipping and spilling the wine,
the vase, my words. Nor this version of us
still in the same story but no longer
the protagonists, the lovers, the driving nexus
of the plot, only separate wanderers, rarely
found on the same page. Give me back
the glittering scarf, the ready laughter,
the bodies that twine in the night.

Gail Entrekin

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