West Ride Out

by Ishion Hutchinson

And love grows angel in the gloam
with your calls through resistant stars.
I turn and it is fall and memory vivifies a sick
man-child’s calling back in darkness
to the dark, to split: the dark flashes
like red ants in hot oil, but, as now,  
fades quickly into irises under the lids
of those ridges that recall the soul’s
migration, in one solid, ascending fire.
My breath shutters to our ruined sea.
I assume there breakers’ twisted swamp
cabbages, coral voice and touched at noon
by your secular lustre lying down to sleep.
At the far edge, a God-a-me struggles
towards paradise, your burnished,
miniature Sahara, speckled with unfallen
sea pears, their relics of pale sapphire
keeled-crested into claws of petals
and scratched against the day’s azure
blaze, dissolve cormorants into the sand.
Others lengthen the old coup d’œil militaire
to reave your heart, but all are empty
silos I reflect and invert into bracts,
thresh as thorns as stars clear apart
when the island stands bare mornings
amidst some peril in the blur of another fall.
Seen through frost light, the spires
are distinct amber above the fading brick,
what people here might call “brunette”
or “auburn”, with neither shame nor guilt,
the silk-bloodied air travails – do you hear? –
in the tamaracks I catch a glimpse
of what resemble great black hawks.
In America, not heaven, it is always autumn.
Severance climate only you repair.
Yet a decade does not annul the first pain
sighting canoes braised on the lake at dusk,
a gloam no different from dawn, fish-beloved,
forming a pattern the wind translates.
Nothing more. The mind’s calipers move
inland, to alien green ferns embanked
for the oubliette of our childhood, dreaming
in brief lightning: you are there, absently, gilt-nerved,
about to speak, and having spoken, silent.
Then your contrails of periwinkles strain
down the beach to face the basalt reef.
Axles, meanwhile, shatter spurious rain
flickers along Balaclava; I ride out late night
ghettoes, riding out mist and fishbone taillights,
to trim sunlight to your bewildering name.
As I near, spores leaven the fracas of waves
into a desultory panic: the idolatry of water,
your great repose. Do not wake, but wake, now,
to my devotion song and eat of me. Please.