The opening lines were suggested by a letter of Zelda Fitzgerald’s

The lake is so blue, it colors the air,
makes you feel as if you’re in an aquarium,
floating instead of walking, tucked inside
the scalloped Alps, a ladle full of sky—
And we are lucky to be here, and we know it,
another difficult year of loss, needless war,
peace broken like a stale baguette
on the cobblestones, crumbs to squabble
over by the pigeons and doves. But, love,
we are here, remembering Delacroix, how
the crust of the ordinary must be broken through,
the life where we don’t have time to talk, but leave
notes on the place mats, where we wave as our cars
pass going up and down the hill.

Here, time is a gift to be slowly unwrapped,
like last night, when I took off your shirt,
and you slipped the shawl from my shoulders,
pulled me down on the cool smooth sheets.
In the morning, roses flushed the air pink,
and we lingered over coffee at the wrought iron table.
The language of the body, its many tongues.
The lake, lapping at the shore. The hive of the everyday
drones on the other side of the world, waiting.
But we are humming, our bodies’ new translation,
accents—circonflexe, grave, and aigue—
like tattoos on our arms and legs.
~Barbara Crooker

poems online



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