On a Riff by Sarah Coakley

Let us say love shapes
our ways, that as we age we
love differently.

Let us say God is
love, and as we love each o-
other our deep desire

will change who or what
God means. All-patient desire,
being between us

and God, makes us love
each other as our desires
beat our boundaries.

Keeping Shop

I maintain a shop-
keeper’s mind, my get up Bre-
ton T’s and chore coats,

lime, navy, lemon.
I count my syllables, cross
my T’s and dot the i’s.

Much poetry is
just bad prose. Let it be said,

kind, the muses would
visit him from time to time
to his amazement.

Over the Moon

I read Nietzsche, self
pulsing, wild Dionysos,
like a wave building,

like a wave crashing.
I walk home under the stars.
Orion shows off,

his story stars the
moon whose arrows cripple him.
Schoolboy myths but now,

in my weak dotage,
most beautiful. Chaste and free,
sing Ben Jonson’s song.


However banal,
the source of this poem is
an image that with-

stands revision. The
bath I draw at day’s end is
almost too hot for

me. The moment
of submersion, already/not
yet, time’s raw between—-

kairos! Bathetic,
all-too-human, but in that
too muchness it lives.


A year to the day,
you came into my life and
my bed all rosy

enthusiasm. I
hardly knew you, a friend of
the family. De-

scent of Venus ea-
ger opulent innocence.
The gentle Portland

rain fell day and night.
When it ended, you were gone.
The green world greener.

A year to the day,
true love flows and flows from life’s

Rock Me

The sun rises o-
ver Narragansett Bay; the
little white boats shine

in their calm slips. What
more do you need for now? Count
the masts rising and

falling in place. See!
The rhythm is true to what
you are and are not.

Imitate it
if you can and rock me free
in Analogy.

World Enough

Enya, Hildegard,
Fado: voices pour out the
door as I enter

each morning. World
music with my oatmeal and
French press. Having lost

you, it’s all excess
good. As people come in the
world remakes itself.

This is the Ocean
State. Sea levels are rising.

Pawtuxet flows in-
to the Bay. Is this the re-
sponse of the Dark O-

igin? Having lost
you, the will’s pleasures give up
their secrets freely.

Ordinary life
is worth living; paradox
reconfigures faith.