THINGS I DO AND DON'T IN LA JOLLA UNTIL SHE WAKES
The sun has pulled its counterpane of water
over its head to sleep. And still,
they donít lock church doors in La Jolla.
Back east, salvation closes at dusk.
Perhaps one night Iíll see a crack
and decide to look for my soul.
As children, we snapped together
like jigsaw pieces whoíd been
in opposite corners of the box too long,
and now I donít remember
how to feel whole before she wakes.
I want to be that fuller man --
that desire keeps me from mischief,
from carving tits in wet cement
or exploiting the trust of those open doors
and drinking the mass wine. It keeps me
fairly relaxed and productive as well,
for an insomniac at night.
I sit by the ocean with Time magazine
so I donít stare off at the Philippines.
Seals have taken over the beach.
Not those sleek torpedoes
with skin like silver glad rags
trained to balance balls and hit the sky
like a ship, on cue. These are fat,
not fond of commotion or entertainment.
They let me read and think in peace.
It seems a wild-haired scientist believes
that time might not be
a continuous phenomenon after all.
It just might be one big mighty blob
taking up all the room, much like
a lazy seal. Not moving, sluggishly
distended all over the place,
before first dawn and after doomsday.
If thatís true, if everything is everywhere
it will ever be at once, it would solve
the puzzle of my early morning body.
Finally, to sleep and open my eyes
to the sweet citrus of her hair,
the bronze breakfast of skin.
I love the idea of being everywhere
simultaneously. On Finn St.
with her and a bucket of pennies
from Halloween, pushing our faces
flat on a bakery window
and here, thinking of her waking,
and in her arms
as sea lions spread sloth
across their wide berth like time.
Patrick Carrington is the author of 3 volumes of poetry -- Hard Blessings (MSR Publishing, 2008), Thirst (Codhill, 2007), and Rise, Fall and Acceptance (MSR Publishing, 2006) -- and winner of New Delta Reviewís Matt Clark Prize and Yemasseeís Pocataligo Contest in poetry. His poems are forthcoming in The American Poetry Journal, Notre Dame Review, Poet Lore, Tar River Poetry, and American Literary Review. Heís the poetry editor at Mannequin Envy. "Things I Do and Donít in La Jolla Until She Wakes" was first published in The Broome Review.