by John B. Lee

it seems I am waiting
for the perfumed sails of Cleopatra
wafting with desire on the wind
from the blue seas of the soul
what burns in the bones
but the beauty of being
or loosens the limbs
but the plunge and the play of light
in the green-thinned leaves
of an August breeze
what copulatory dawn flares on foam
what star-seeded
fertility of night in the dark
blooms black-ripened by dream
as she
arrives in her slave-oared ship
on the shores
of morphia and her moon-pulled
waters deepening
under the keel, waking
the language of waves and
of arms and the slow red voice
of each dead man’s heart
with the spade heel
who opens the earth
with old involving
puts a doctor’s thumb
to the still pulse
a silver brilliance
to the breathless mouth
an ear
to the bell in the oak
and the golden honey-fragrant
hip of a sheet with its flowering
hive in the roof of a cave
where the wild bees work
in their comb.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: John B. Lee was appointed Poet Laureate of the city of Brantford in perpetuity in 2004 and Poet Laureate of Norfolk County in 2010. His work has appeared internationally in over 500 publications.  He has over seventy books in print and he is the recipient of over 80 prestigious international awards for his writing. His most recent books are Burning My Father (Black Moss Press, 2014) and Window Fishing: The Night We Caught Beatlemania, an anthology edited by the author. He lives in Port Dover, Ontario, Canada, where he works as a full-time author.

IMAGE: “Cleopatra” by John William Waterhouse (1887).