Sherod Santos

1948 / Greenville, South Carolina

Work

Pushing off on her back out
Into the fishpond's cold
Archaic glitter, my naked wife
Could not have guessed how

High she rode into the noon
Sky, a brightened polestar
Gliding out between nothing
And nothing, between a sun-

Lit vacancy and its ancient,
Reflected, weightless
Hour unrippling back
From the sedges. The just-

Cut grasses fumed around her
Like gasoline, a few
Spent bees dozed above
The compost, and in my arms

The steady thrum of the mower
Carried on, though I'd
Shut it off to sit down
And watch: but so fond of her,

The water parted to take
Her back from that aimless
Sky, where light-
Headed and slippery as a star

She turtled under the still
Simmering Indian summer
To startle the sunfish
At the margins—then punctured

Back with a blow-frog's gasp,
An amazed stranger
Conjured into the world
By a willow shadow

Spread out on the grass
Like an extravagant Old
World gesture no
One believes in anymore.

On that stalled shore she climbed
Back out among the cool
And slightly washed-
Out leaves to towel off,

Put on her clothes, and shake
Her hair out in no time
Which slips off into the past,
Or future, into nothing

But the pure unburnished hum-
Drum of that moment, that place,
From which we turned away
Eventually and went back to work.
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