When the rough-faced sea ignites the western clouds
and the horizon disappears  When  black pitching

grabs your heart and the hatch leaks   When it comes
to you how high your mast is and how it desires lightning

as you drop the main, clinging to the slick deck, your
lifeline sliding along the rail so you slip and splay

and are less than man  When the woman you love is
safe on land, and the son and the daughter can't help

When all of this convenes, a salt calm enters your soul,
where great fish cruise above the corals, and dim plants

extend their hunting fingers  And in a beat you understand
that it was never her moody surface that sirened you

from the marina, with its safe posts and its pretty flags,
but rather what lies underneath, that it's she you crave

more deeply than your life, she who is made of sand
and darkness, she who will never abandon you.

Lola Haskins
LOLA HASKINS  (www.lolahaskins.com) lives in Florida.  Her most recent books of poems is The Rim Benders (Anhinga, 2001).  Hunger (University of Iowa Press, 1993), reissued by Story Line in 1996, won the Iowa Poetry Prize in 1992.  In addition, Desire Lines, New and Selected Poems, is forthcoming from BOA Editions in 2004.  Her work has appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, The Christian Science Monitor, The London Review of Books, Beloit Poetry Journal, Georgia Review, Southern ReviewPrairie Schooner, and elsewhere..