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A Blossoming of Skeletons

This fossil flower
smoothed by years of caresses
no longer rests
in the hollow of her neck.

Half a life ago she sailed
in a boat with a wine-red sail
from Gotland: god’s land -
’though you wouldn’t know it -

to a smaller isle in the Baltic Sea
where a wind-crippled juniper grew
and sheep could no longer graze.
Here was Bergman’s mis en scene;

an unlikely setting for love;
no place for a woman
who lived barefoot among
frangipani and hibiscus.

But the man at the helm
was subtle as a homing serpent;
fine of touch; he sought nature’s
purity of shape in glass design.

When she looked down -
those thirty years ago -
she saw the fossil, porous
a blossoming of tiny skeletons

and became absorbed
imagining rainbows
coral and fish swarms
when this chill world was warm.