Mid-July. There are hours
you’d pay twenty dollars for a breeze.
Rise at 5:00 to write—
when morning still remembers last night’s sheen on dampened grass,
placenta of a cooling rain.
After 7:00, the petals of the poem begin to wilt.
After 9:00, the poem becomes prodigal, only wants to sleep, to seek
the lotus-blooms of a shady niche, only wants to copulate
in creams with rouged and costumed poems, better left undone.
Then afternoon, and false relief, a drive in the air-conditioned car.
West, over the dry prairie, cloud caravans arrive, pitch across
the skies their cotton tents, spread out on dappled rugs
the lapis of a promised rain, make a distant
music to enchant, but sell us nothing.
Drive south again, to where there is no shore, a cloudless sunset
on the Gulf, the first, familiar stars, the paperweight of heat. Friends
in the north ask, why did I come? Oh, for the chance
of a breeze, and for love, for her—
mysterious beauty with her frying skirt,
washing he ankles where the pelicans glide.
© The Estate of Sandford Lyne