“The Windstorm”
a poem by Jack Granath

Do you remember that night of cheap wine and broken trees?
Sad music and a storm coming, us loving it on the balcony,
Sitting close for no real reason—the better to reach the bottle maybe
Or the better to hear,
And you smiled and said, isn't it funny, we huddle together whenever we can and

              drink like drunks and talk like mad and you've never

Seen me naked.
There were complications, of course, your boyfriend, my fiancée,
Jobs, families, weddings, bowling teams, book clubs, the neighborhood watch,
And wasn't I an alderman or something?
There were complications, but you shook your hair in the wind and laughed

              and showed me your thigh anyway.

You told me to shut up and describe it, and I said, “Warm bath in a tub of an 

              unlikely size at the end of a hellish day.”

Approving of that, I guess, you hitched your skirt around to show me more,
And I said, “The restless feeling you get in the presence of a blank canvas or a
              blank page.”
And you pulled your panties sidewise, and a tree limb roared and tore away
              and crashed into the yard,
And I hooked my thumb and said, “That.”
So you wet your fingers in my glass of wine and touched yourself.
There was the sound of clattering hooves.
It wasn't the sound of my pounding heart pounding in my ears—
That was something else.
Feeling holy, I got down on my knees.
You tasted like a hot, languorous day on the island of Chíos.
You tasted like the fruit children smash against their mouths.
Crouching between your legs, I rushed off to find you and found you and
              once you were found
I lost myself. It was then, sweet stuff,
You kicked the chair apart and shook your lipstick off and cursed me in the
               tongue of some colorful ancestor.
I washed my face with you.
I wouldn't let you let me stop.
Time stepped aside and I filled in, feeling like a river in a Japanese poem;
That is, until my wristwatch melted and the minutes ran down your leg.
When at last you pushed me back, I saw that your blouse was off and your
                breasts were wonderful and the leaves had changed.
The sirens sounded like impossible violins.
You were entirely naked and so was I, how did that happen, the wind had
                gone insane.
There was a storm of birds,
Starlings and grackles and crows, doves, robins, finches, and wrens,
Small things thrown from ruined houses, blind in the dark, soaring and
                 flapping and smashing around, and that's how I felt too
Once I got inside you,
And we were going, you on your back on an unsteady chaise
That traveled the expanse of the balcony until we hit the rail
And the wood gave way in a hail of potted plants exploding on the sidewalk,
You and me clinging to the edge of the roof, still going, and the birds and the
                 wind and the sky splitting open,
The neighbors rushing through splintered streets, terrified by portents,
Pausing only long enough to look up at us and cheer,
And the pile of broken words you whispered in my ear
And the hole you tore in the back of my head with your fingernails
And the splendid piece of shoulder I came away with in my teeth,
The wheeling lights, the blasts, the agonies,
The constant earthquakes and the naked cops
And the gas lamps going off like rockets
And the giant-eyed faces swathed in curtains behind the windows that
                  shattered for miles around when you came.
Hooves clattering, blood running from a crack in the sky, semen everywhere
                  like rain.
Do you remember that night?
Do you remember the horizon collapsing like a kitchen shelf?
Of course you do, wherever the hell you are.


© 2005 Jack Granath

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