The Refrain
by Anne Whitehouse


Haunted by a phrase in a song,
the sequence of notes rising,
falling, rising, falling,
a nuanced refrain
like flowing water.

Where were we going
away from home?
Not to the cities
of our dreams--
Venice, or Rome,
but to a long, curving
claw of sand
washed up in mangroves
to form an island.
Colonized by hurricanes,
sister to storms,
palm fronds rippling
like skirts or flags.

Hot in the buzzing haze
of summer--
insect music vibrated
through air,
          through water.
Everything was moving,
And everything was still.
It was life and death,
it was life-in-death.

Amen. Amen.


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