Off-Season

On the bus to Kinsale you meet a woman
who mistakes you for a Botticelli goddess.

She speaks in civilized syllables, her words
like calico (evenly printed, well-ironed).

You rumple the landscape and she follows–
anchoring her city socks ankle-deep in mud,

scraping corduroys thin on the walls of ruins.
She stands with you against angles of downpour

and surveys the coast. Towards evening,
the illusions snag on a boulder

and high tide washes them away.
You are human; she is bedraggled;

the conversation is soggy and full of old salt.
You sit with her in a cold room

and attempt to mend your brocade.
Two pairs of leather shoes block the space heater,

forcing you both to flannel and warm sheets.
The shoes bake all night.

By the time you wake up they are brittle.

Off the Coast, Spring 2014

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