There is a way to end books;
the gathered papers, their weighty
gift—the clean parade of words
in columns of paragraphs and in columns
of images—the tidiness of things—
and numbered, they form the thing
you have labored over for years.
To end a book, you tie a blue ribbon
around the heft, make a bow, kiss it.
The way to end the year of cataclysms
is to find a piece of land by water,
where old boats rot at the edges,
and the place smells of ancient things,
sulfur, salt, rotting fish, and
the deep musk of mud and grass.
To then sit on a moving jetty,
rocking against the universe’s
pulse, and there wait for the moon.
To end this way alone, is to end
with the hollow melancholy
of loss and regret. Better to end
with the voice of your woman—
for you will need that voice
ordinary as rain, talking your name.
Perhaps it is the intrusion of her scent
filling the air, or the cool of her touch
slick with tomato pulp and herbs.
I know the gender
of this poem, do not
worry, it is because
I know the name
of the bodies standing
in the dusk by water:
Kwame and Lorna.
They will hold hands,
and in this saying, the poem ends.