Hatteras ~ Richard Hoffman

Back then, on that thin strip of barrier

island, at your parents’ beachfront

house, we were at war with each other

over territory: psychic premises, time,

responsibilities, attention. We plumbed

desire and fury, threatened one another

with abandonment. Sometimes the wind

would shift and blow from the land, across

the sound, not from the sea, and bring

dank pressure and a horde of insects,

tropical, hard and heavy, banging into

the screens, hanging there with barbed legs

and the faces of demons. I snapped them off

with my middle finger which annoyed you

sitting across from me under the lamp

that had drawn them to our windows,

nursing our newborn son and trying to read.

What did we know about love then? Why

did we stay together, we two, grandparents

now, long married, writing books of poems,

our dedications to each other in italics?

The wind would shift, again and again.

We seem to have always known that much.


                                                for K.