One Month at Casa Sotovento

On this cliff above the brittle dance
of wind-blown palms, I look north,
see Kate asleep, the roof beams falling,
glass in that silky hair.
The Hayward fault becomes a mouth
sliding open beneath her bed.

The man running by had said
Huvo un temblor muy grande en California.
Bougainvilleas, blood-red, like paper
on fire, tangle overhead.

The question is how to let go,
re-educate a body
that braces itself moment to moment
expecting the earth to shift.
Across this bay, beyond the anchored boats,
a lacy reef holds back the sea.

Of course she was safe.
Grown children move in their own orbits.
Let go. There are enough colors
on one hillside to justify the day.

Last night I dreamed about a husband
twenty years gone, how he loved
women. The ground was not solid
beneath us. Fog swallowed
sidewalks and gardens, sprawled
in the branches of trees.

I write dreams in a green book.
The ceiling fan pushes warm air
in circles and the sea
drags sand across La Ropa beach.

Setting his wine glass on a rock,
the poet from Vancouver
who stayed with Paz in Cuernavaca
says No need to leave home.
Just write every day. Poke around
in the rubble
. I dare you.

Inland whole hills are burning.
Charcoal for cooking and ashes for corn.
Smoke, the feathered breast of a bird,
settles onto the bay.

More dreams. Fifty years compressed
in the curve of a shoulder,
office buildings that have no exits,
a teacher's glance, babies mislaid.
What surfaces in the green book
is code.                           Dark stones

at the headland cup blue fish
in hollows worn by sand.
Stones reach up from a folding continent.
I work with what I can get.

Off-shore the breeze is steady.
I float cradled, watching
domed and gentle mountains
rise out of Zhihuatanejo Bay.
I recognize them. Lake George.
Pine wind, light on small waves,

Father there and the unmoving
weight of the Adirondacks.
So this is how it is then,
nothing wasted, nothing lost.


Poems by Sharon Fain:

Snowy Owl
Getting It Right
A Birth
Waiting for the Bear
Screen Saver
Losing the Drought
Isla Mujeres: Weeks Before the Breakdown
On Hearing Jack Gilbert Talk About Death
One Month at Casa Sotovento
Out on the Deck at Sirens
Waiting to Hear About the Biopsy
Elvis at Chiang Mai
High Desert
Letters From Sarajevo
On Seeing the Place Where I First Made Love

TIMES TEN: An Anthology of Northern California Poets