Return of the Perfect Object

Richard King Perkins II

That object retrieved from the sea
which might be love—

quite out of place in the arid world,
so that if we didn’t know better,
we might call it pearl, or doubloon,
or even trilobite—
but we know it cannot be these things,
so we call it love, set it on the
cabin table and further label it ours.

Seen against the maculate horizon,
its appearance changes with each
subtle flirtation of water—
and our conviction wavers as well,
so we rename our treasure,
calling it jealousy or ego,
and we further clutch it between us,
deciding if it is mine or yours.

Ominous arrival,
a silent arm of tide curls over
the sailing craft, reclaiming the object
we once thought of as love,
now worn as bracelet of the waves—
nothing more than salvage or haul
for weekend tourists
on a chartered yacht cruise
out of Miami Beach.

Looking for another existence
and the remainder of the world,
we found something flourishing
at the bottom
of a bejeweled, thieving ocean—

the fossil-lives of recognizable others
kept in the immutable state
which we would likely call perfect.


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