for sainte geneviève

she yawned her perfect birth, at midday

if she said the body was,
the foreign tongue was brittle
some sparks, envelopes of light

no face for drowning,
run through in the orange season —

it might be soil. our fingertips would
be precious, and what we wouldn’t give for a trowel. . .
(it is not.) & always got our feet stuck
in those unreal surfaces.
i wanted you to yawn, you see
and plunge my hands in

the body is all surface
that great marble dais,
& slept in wooded temples,
sorry that when we held
our hands to the sun

the bones were clear beneath the skin.

when i was a boy, we
holidayed in cornwall,
a name no less
that i loved
because it could
take my weight.
chin up, i said —
and the steps to the beach
were endless

once we looked out to sea
& a fishing boat
caught a mine in its net

young men should not witness explosions,
and should not look too long to sea

chin up, i said

digest its pastorale,
or the country never leaves
even when it is the sea

in paris it is all gathered in one place
at the corner of pont neuf,
where geneviève stands
holding her son, her tomb
is a pebble at the hard core of erosion

and yawning that great desire
to be in a stormsea —
the waves have their own architecture
because their scale is urban.
london is a tempest
but always, &
paris is a calm sea,
at least until six o’clock

please, geneviève, loose your son to the water,
we will climb those steps for you
and your surfaces are not dull