October

The coast curves around the sea,

each jutting headland a ridge of its spine,

shingle beaches like shards of bone

chipped away by the force of the tide,

pressing angry against my naked soles.

The waves leap at the shore,

silver wolves with dark open jaws

and glinting eyes like blinking amber suns

stolen from the sky, just for a second,

before they crash around our feet.

The taste of salt in the air

stings my lips, pressed against

the smooth skin of your shoulder.

You shiver. The wind drags

across your flesh raising dimples

like pebbles beneath my palms.

Sometimes I wake in the night

and the cotton sheets feel cold between us

and just for a second I stop breathing-

I close my eyes tight against the darkness

pressing in around me, heavy as storm clouds

hesitating on the edge of relief.

Expectant silence hangs oppressive in the air.

Your breathing is loud near my ear, dragging

oxygen into your lungs like the waves

steal shingle from the shoreline.

I remember that autumn afternoon, anchored

together in the eye of the storm.

Beneath my drifting eyelids

you laugh, turn, grab my hand,

and we run along the spine of the earth.

(January 2014)

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