May Day

A boat runs out of water

and marries sand,

its skin soft as sailors

dream it.


See a man walking

towards a woman

whose arms hang loosely

at her sides,

her dress red enough

to do the talking.


The man pauses

to pick up a shell,

its underbelly iridescent

in the early morning light—

sun not a lemon

but lemonade,

spilling the broken crockery of gulls.


This is the reunion

of two souls that have been meeting

for centuries,

the bodies they inhabit now

too old to live for lust,

too young to know anything better.

And so they speak

their earliest language.


In a moment

all will be memory:

a man crowning

the rightful owner of a shell,

a woman in a red dress

who is not the sea, and yet—


© Nicole Melanson

* This poem first appeared in New Delta Review