was filled with compulsion, with fragrant,
exotic confusion. The scent of bougainvillea
and jasmine floated through the live oak,
draped in Spanish moss, lit by the gibbous
moon now etching a dawn.
He leaned against the tree, holding her. She
felt his strength, and felt protected. Yet the
prehensile way he embraced shadows
of a childhood no moon or sun could dispel
sounded the silent alarm.
She felt him as a fastness. Yet he was holding
to her as a two-year-old might cling to a
mother’s shoulders in the dark, after the
night light had failed.
The tension in her spine, bone-words, spoke
to him. Under the tanned skin of vacation,
the long night of partying around the island
tingled, simply heaven, the finale of a honey-
moon that should have been a vacation for two,
not a sandy, conchy extension of a sacrament
that would begin a life together,
but mostly apart,
and only for four months, and two days,
till in the final hours the bone-words found a
G. Louis Heath, Ph.D. Berkeley, teaches at Ashford University, Clinton, Iowa. His books include VANDALS IN THE BOMB FACTORY, LEAVES OF MAPLE and LONG DARK RIVER CASINO. His interests include writing poems and short stories, hiking, and serving on the Clinton, Iowa Human Rights Commission. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.