this hand

Bright straight flashes of orange tulips
and still frames of a tank-topped childhood
in the 1940s by the fountain on the east garden
and some of motion pictures, one of wild dark hair
and big brown eyes dressed in blue, not him, not her,
somehow a union of both in teenage wanderings in the orchards
of a secret Suffolk flatland; they are rowing a boat out to a sea,
the day is warm, their bodies are warm
and the shared fantasy is that the sea is warm too
but how they astonish themselves with freezing cold dipping toes,
then a gull marries the blue band around the boat.
'marries', for somewhere in the great design of this moment
there is a romantic coming together, the sea and the blue sky
are the canvas and that gull and that blue band
are brush-stroked with the same loving hand
in the same spirit of one who is casually
and fully taken with the flush of spring.
It is a calm hand, slightly yellow yet white as a moon
in the first glow of a chilly morning.
It is a hand that has stroked the bark of acacia trees,
fed orphan lambs and arranged a bouquet of dandelions for his truelove
and that now readies for the feel of the waxy petals of that orange tulip,
first a tickle, then a stroke, then full compression,
then lasting union, then somewhere in the heart of the hand
becomes the memory of orange in a meadow of yearning green
and somewhere in the ear of the hand
he can hear the rubbing of the papery borders
between this moment and the next.

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