Communion – Jan Bailey


I am the tuck of turquoise water.
the slap of spray on ocean rocks.
I am the boat, the effort
of her engines, the voice
of the captain pointing out
the woman whipped against the cliff
by wind, her red cap.
I am the trails of bindweed
at her feet, the labyrinth of roots.
I am the wind that whips
the woman bent to her words.
I am her book of poems and it is I.
I am the pages in it, both written
and blank, the knapsack she drags
behind her like tradition,
her can of cola, her plum.
I am the doe she startles on the path,
the mud mire she skirts,
the stump she stumbles over,
her fall among the stones.
I am the blue door she opens,
the kettle she rinses,
the tea she sips to warm herself.
I am the warm.
I am the purple bruise rising
on her thigh, the salve
she will apply at bedtime.
I am her bed with its shroud
of prickly wool, the bedsprings,
the dust that shapes them like a shadow.
I am thelast word she reads
before sleeping and I am her dream
of no words, but of drifting
on a blue-green ocean unil she
dissolves, then settles like lichen
along the narrow fissures of the rocks.

Jan Bailey