through your breeze-blown
white hair, now, like a crisp closeup
in an art-house French film, framing
brilliant colors and motion—
Ochre-tinged, your hair.
A flannel-breeze, warm . . . salty.
Your face smooth, soft-camera . . . obscured.
A shadowed sun.
Yet I, alone, see beyond the shadow.
For, I’ve been within—
the details there
as mindful within me as by the hand
of a street artist’s oil portrait, yes,
even as by a lover.
Here we are this time being,
between two distant orbs, sun and moon,
forever supernatural to our eyes.
Here we are on this blanketed,
hilltop pasture, so starkly green,
glowing like emerald—leprechaunish!
Uprooted, dirt clods along
Rich brown clods
the color of a Nut Brown Ale or
a thick, malty Porter, and
the aroma of freshly-plowed earth.
The sheep a dirty hue of eggshells with,
always, always, the few of black.
Clouds are gathering now, pillowy-white,
The quilt spread out beneath us,
threaded so carefully by you
with squared patches of
our wanderings, soft,
puffed patches of
our life together, the rough,
at times harsh, land beneath.
Here we are this time being, on this quilt.
We enjoy apples, crisp and juicy sweet,
Italian bread, with herbs and garlic,
sausages, succulent, and salty like the sea.
Like the sea, not so far from here—
We were there, as well, many times,
the gritty sand, molecular; the waves
transforming it to a cool, wet, smooth
walkway where our footprints appeared,
then were washed away.
But, those were other times—
Here on this pasture, on this quilt,
we share a bottle of Malbec,
a wine for the two
lowly commoners that we are, on this hilltop,
not so common to the outer world, perhaps,
but mates each to the other.
No children. By fate. Just one lovely, young niece.
We traveled on affordable whims,
through the seasons and to other regions,
and atop our own land, as well.
This morning sun through your breeze-blown hair,
like a talisman protecting a knight on his journey home,
emboldening him. Yellow-orange, the light—étonnant!
Long, threadlike strands of now whitened and wisened hair.
The cool, soft and salty breeze.
The quilt-like threaded squares, painted canvasses
of our life together through time—
The lamp-lit, Paris evening along cobbled-streets;
the carefree walk along the rushing Moldau;
the Christmas festival in Zurich with
pastries and piping-hot cups of cocoa.
The Schnapps. The Fjords, guided by wind and sail,
and St. Petersburg by rail. Thoughts of Yuri and Lara.
The quilt to our niece, now, our one niece.
Our blessed past as a gift of our love,
with lessons to be learned in each thread.
“Shall I bring down the shade more?”
the nurse in white uniform
says to me, pleasantly.
“No,” I plead. “A bit longer—please.”
She pauses, I sense,
mindful of this moment,
casting into my teary and widened, hazel eyes.
“It will be lunch soon,” she reminds me.
“Sausages?” I hear,
with wonder and a slight smile,
wiping my eyes with the white bedsheets.
“Did I tell you the story of–” I begin,
then fall uncomfortably silent.
“Sausages,” I say.
Morning has faded,
washed-away, it seems,
but the sunlight still shines through
that metallic-framed window,
with its tiny squares of mesh-wire
embedded in thick glass.
The ochre sun still passes through.
She adjusts and puffs
my white pillow, then pulls
my white sheets up,
comfortably for me,
just below my head and
my still-open eyes, then pauses again.
“You were a street painter once,” she says.
“Your niece quite proudly showed me photo-books of each of them.
The originals were all nicely sold, I understand,” she goes on, melodically.
You should be proud of your life—
and your well-tended gift,” she adds.
“Imagine that,” I say, one tear gently slipping,
spreading out like the wetness of seawater over
my sandy-like cheeks.
A thought appears of two footprints there—then not there.
Her shadowed face . . .
So lovely a soul—
My eyes now moist, with
sleep washing over . . .
by S.A. Bort
[photo by S.A. Bort of Key West, FL sculpture]