Before the Flame

John Swain

Sea before the flame,
sunset, the night coupling,
star severing
Elizabeth's wisteria,
her moon water,
her night-blooming jasmine,
her wave taste.

The silver shoreline pales
white inside our arms
tied with the sea
and night.
Moon surface, sea mirror,
far from youth,
she is beautiful.

Camphor, woman magic,
the limitless sea arches
at her back.
A candle fire on
the contrary wave, her black atlas,
the crescent sewn
her fecund circumference.


John Swain lives in Louisville, Kentucky. Least Bittern Books published his most recent collection, Under the Mountain Born.

     riverbabble 31 table of contents    |   Write to the Author   |  Go to the Archives