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The Way the Waves by Carole Greenfield

The Way the Waves

Three boys construct a castle. My toes rejoice
in cool rush of wave, same swirl that takes
down walls and turrets, provokes moans
and dismayed cries. Age-old mistakes.

I want to bend down, tell them, This is the way
it happens, every single time. This is what tides do.
They can’t help themselves.
I keep it to myself.
Some things must stay unsaid, even though true.

The way I can’t help myself when desire
for you swirls and curls round my toes,
tendrils up my legs, snakes even higher
to touch inner shadows, folded rose.

The way your voice slides its way in
and through, stretches just that bit more,
the way waves inch higher and higher still,
each inflow reaching up the shore.

One boy faces the sea, shouts “No!”
to waves that try to knock him down.
The way I’ve tried and failed to defy
my wanting, tried to stand my ground.

Say No to want feels wrong, Yes to what
I’m supposed to do: turn my back on beauty,
power, surge and whisper, hiss and rush,
calmly walk away, perform my duty.

And then I don’t. I face the open sea,
arms raised, legs spread, toes digging deep
in all that shifting, melting sand, becoming me
who’s woken once again from living sleep

to feel myself melt and shift, dissolve
into a foamy sheen too bright to save
as you surround, embrace me one more time,
wave upon wave upon cresting, caressing wave.

by Carole Greenfield

Editor’s Note: This poem’s title opens the reader to a question each stanza explores via clear imagery and deep emotion, until the end of the poem reveals that desire is a language we all must speak.


One response to “The Way the Waves by Carole Greenfield”

  1. richardsund Avatar

    A sensual, sexy poem and the contrast between the boys and the Poet makes the desires so different.

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