the combers breaking and breaking on white sand,
sand made even whiter by the Guadeloupe moon.

how, with nothing to hide them, the stars blanketed the sky.
We knelt at tideline while Zugari pointed out

the little fishes shoaling beneath the pierlights.
Without knowing each other’s language

he explained to me with gestures that he wanted me
to come with him up the slope to his room, in the help’s quarters.

We climbed the path through the bushes though it was too dark
to see–but he took my hand to guide me.

It seemed right, the tree frogs saying so, the stars saying so,
his urging on my arm, the urging of my own body.

And when we made love in his plain white stucco room
filled with gypsy music from his portable radio, it seemed right and perfect

the muscles of his arms hard under my hands, the muscles
of his chest lifting and falling against my body,

to be held as if fastened to each moment as it passed
into the next without a thought of the man left behind in the harsh winter,

of how short a time we would have together, a week only, of his other women
from the weeks before, or the women who would come after.
 
 

Patricia Fargnoli

Patricia Fargnoli's latest book is Winter, 2013. A former New Hampshire Poet Laureate, she has published three previous award-winning books: Then, Something; Duties of the Spirit and Necessary Light. Her poems have appeared most recently in Prairie Schooner, Paterson Literary Review and Tiferet. A retired social worker, she has also been a Macdowell Fellow.

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