Coisas tão boas

by RM

Each morning, before the sun rises
over the bay of Villefranche-sur-Mer
     on the Côte d’Azur, cruise ships drop anchor

    so that motor launches from shore
can nurse alongside. All afternoon we studied
     les structures où nous sommes l’objet, structures

    in which we are the object—le soleil
me dérange, le Côte d’Azur nous manque
     while the pompiers angled their Bombardiers

    down to the sea, skimming its surface
like pelicans and rising, filled
     with water to drop on inland, inaccessible

    wildfires. Once, a swimmer was found face down
in a tree like the unfledged robin I saw
     flung to the ground, rowing

    its pink shoulders as if in the middle
of the butterfly stroke, rising a moment
     above water. Oiseau is the shortest word

    in French to use all five vowels: “the soul
and tie of every word,” which Dante named
     auieo. All through December, a ladybug circles

high around the kitchen walls looking for
     spring, the way we search for a word that will hold
all vows and avowals: eunoia, Greek

for “beautiful thinking,” because the world’s
     a magic slate, sleight of hand—now
 you see it, now you don’t—not exactly

a slight, although in Elizabethan English, “nothing”
     was pronounced “noting.” In the Bodleian Library
at Oxford, letters of the alphabet hang

from the ceiling like the teats
     of the wolf that suckled Romulus
and Remus, but their alibi

keeps changing, slate gray like the sea’s
     massage: You were more in me than I was
 in me. . . . You remained within while I

      went outside. Hard to say
whether it was Augustine
     speaking to God or my mother

    talking to me. Gulls ink the sky
with view, while waves throw themselves
     on the mercy of the shore.

Beautiful Thinking, Angie Estes