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Hatteras Lighthouse

ISSUE:  Winter 2000
We laugh and pant for our hearts
pushed this far, each step harder
than the last, the air close and humid

so that our hair clings to our necks
and we gasp, forced to stop at landings
on this spiral to a man-made moon.

Each window leaks a draft of cool,
reveals a scrap of blue tempting us up.
We pull back against the wall, stall

for earlier climbers who, descending,
barely touch an elbow or a sleeve,
brush past the life we hold. Kissed

by bracing chill at the final door
opening, we stare at the drop, the knots
of shrunken tourists on the beach.

The waves do their pre-historic two-step,
shuffle and glide, die and die
again, wind-tossed, noisy but solemn,

the moves classy as a model’s
swinging her long legs down the runway,
reminiscent of that halt, moth

on a pin, to woo the audience,
before she pivots, charming
in reverse, then lopes backstage

into the darkness she came from,
tearing off her clothes in a frenzy
to meet the next “Allez!”


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