Love's Apparatus

How was it the I located another
I, then stood sinking in the wet
sand like a trembling bisection
to help me say: am leaving you,
which the mouth of the ocean,
that many-tongued colossus
translated: I believe in you.

The ocean’s tongues never say love;
they say pull or rush or plunge
spit out snarls of dark ganglia.

What was it we thought
we sealed in the philtrum —
deep, erogenous, Greek
for kiss — or pressed spleen to spleen —
organ of bile, center of melancholy?

We overestimated our footing
on something called beach
or us, dismissed the shifting
tectonics where we might reach
the limit of what can be done.

(Oh, what can be done?)

We stand at the ocean’s edge
and find fault:
you: with the uptake of water;
me: in the settling of salt.

Jules Gibbs lives in Syracuse, NY, where she teaches poetry at the Downtown Writers Center, and to children in city public schools. She earned an MFA in Poetry in 2006, and was awarded a fellowship from the Ucross Foundation in 2007. She’s published her poems in many literary journals, and is currently working on her first manuscript.