Neeli Cherkovski

we talk of love when
all we find are shells spiraling

long chambers
echoing those times
we feared death,
allowing entrance
to surreal precincts
buried in rock

we take love in hand
and think ourselves capable
of flight

the shells I hold
feel like bones, I shake them
to make a rumble
in the face of a calm sea, two sails
on the horizon claim me, I channel
the truth in false history
of ships, of sailing, of bridges, of jetties,
of seabirds and faith

we strangle love’s
shadow, we spit bullets
and make a god out of metal
and nerve endings

such a measure in
cold surface inside a thin, long
mollusk shell, I hide
in deeper chamber, we know
where love divides, miserable
handsome shoulder
on a cliff, grass in tough tufts
trouble every meditative mind

we strong-arm those we love,
or imprison them
in solitary, though they may wander
through crowded arcades,
I am lost
in a story written on spirals
of a shell
from an island
named Bohol, my
idea is to keep it
here on the desk
holding papers in place

so goes love,
we push it and shove
it and mess
with it in any number of ways

sweet hungry love
of mine, sober
shape, what is the
end of all beginning?
a longing woven
into one simple
design on a sea
thing tossed to the beach

obdurate gift,
fated to outlast us
and to never bleed