Khadijah Queen
Leaving a Seaside House

Living Room

You say, The dark blue curtains
Don't move
. We watch their accumulation
Against the cool floor, watch them
Winnowing dust from the wood.
Behind the half-open window, the waves
Bellow against the sand,
Grumble away.


We speak to liquefy the air, shifting
Infrequently between pauses—
Not as if irregular, but as crushed
Grain separating, as if ascending
Temporary frontiers.

We tilt our heads up, sniff
The salt air sliding
Between the curtains.


This is not the way back.
My feet mumble, the floor mumbles—
The house, with its blue view,
Asks much more of you.
We've overthreshed the earth,
Overfished the loach.


In Italy we danced. You threw our songs,
Our shoes to the seething Arno.
Today is not constant.
If it was summer I would have
Opened everything, slipped out
Of my shirt.

Today my fingertips catch all surfaces,
Bland, corrugated, reflective. I hear
You've been naming things.


I listen closely to count the speed
At which you think of words,
Grasping the sequence but not the
Obvious. When I chose the sea,
I knew the ways
In which its fabric mattered.