IN THE LATE AFTERNOON
Men like myself in Gitchi-Goomi
grown weary into malaise
separate from our ladies sex from soul
and sing ourselves secret songs
in the hermitage of age.
Kathleen, those peacocks on the lawn
with a thousand eyes saw Zeus throw
browncow Io naked on the ground,
now see us in our transcendent beauty
as we are
walking mummers with no desire
age is purification by fire
(sterile hands inside a dress)
pawky nature put us away
on green sunken tables
and threw the dice
Eliot's footman snickers
twice and asks us to leave.
We learn how besotted afternoons
carry the weight of eighty years,
past the regrets we carry on our sleeve.
Kathleen wears her gown
tight against her throat
and gazes at the mirror turning brown
and asks, "How nice, dear, how nice,
the watermark of our song."
From noon to sunset
we sat in the gazebo on the hill
and watched the little boats sail the bay.
We took our rums and cakes of dainty cheese,
the ribbons of my hat blew like flags,
your trousers rolled and waved
and my hair scurried about in the breeze.
The peacock cries another time,
curtsies and brings down her fan
like a geisha revealing her face.
Katy cries and spills her tea
I bring to the sop in her tiny lap
a sachet cloth with dingy lace.