He said he wanted to be like a koi pond:
an aquatic garden fashioned by hand, not indigenous to the landscape,
the Zen and feng shui of their placement with one another carefully controlled,
peaceful. Water lilies and koi, cattails and carp, hornwart, apple snails:
flora and fauna which feed off the waters, still like our lips at rest. There is blanket weed
beneath, growing hot and fast, clogging the flow of the rain garden—
there is no serenity in what we build in the backyard and keep there, quietly and alone.
He said she wants to be a cathedral, awe-inspiring from every angle and faith:
stained glass, shooting out colored shadows of the Lord Christ and His Apostles. the sun and atmosphere, reverent to the tricks of prisms.
There are no apple snails at prayer, no water lilies or hornwart offered up in tithings.
Incense and hushed rosaries feed off the peace of the faithful, Byzantine mosaics two-dimensioned and
grand like limbs entwined in nightsheets.
There is the serenity only of stone in the belltower: my midnight Hosannas, sung sweetly to fall upon God’s ears
You are wrong, she slapped out, her kiss one last time to his cheek, his mouth, a nibble like the mouth of a carp, kissing down the cinders of sunlight, the pathways down her cheeks marked slick like those of apple snails.
I want to be the ocean, the salt and the sand, weighing down your clothes and freeing you as you dive in. Swim here and forget feng shui, float with the seaweed and me, the stained glass of waves and surf
moving and different and alive with your breaststrokes.
I want to be the ocean, she said, not waiting to see if he followed her into the tidepool.
This poem first appeared in : Emerge Literary Journal, Summer 2012