Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsFall 2016  Vol. 15 No. 2
an online journal of literature and the arts
 print preview

Mood for Love

(There I go.) I am the man
stepping up to the water. I am not
the man I leave behind,
his arms snapped before him (at me)—
taught as when a whip means
giddyup, move. Yes, my knees
are trembling, like water remembering  . . .
I suffer, I am the man ready to quit.
Should I turn back will I face—?
Should I turn back—?
Should I turn back will I have to face
his palms (they are your palms)
open, and pushing me to the river?
Will I hear them cry Have faith?

In the story, Jesus follows
the fisherman after he tells the fisherman
to sail ahead. Yes, he’s anointed.
Yes, he’s blessed. But what matters
are his eyes, fixed on the fisherman.
No injury. Each step a step toward
the brotherhood there in that boat in the lake.
It’s as if each step is carried by
that brotherhood rough in the lake.
He’s hardly wet as they drag him in,
those fisherman, except as he kisses
each of them and they, devoted
(thunderstruck), kiss him back.

(There I go.) I am the man
stepping onto the water (in the story,
water simply obeys) because
you’ve told me so, told me the duties
of the struck-in-love (as my soul
as I go will obey). Here is our house.
Here is the hole in the roof from where
we escaped our house (the water rising).
Here on this roof: I look out at the river expanded.
(I suffer, I’m that man anonymous in the waves.)
We need food. (I was there.) We need water.
(There I go.) I am the man stepping onto
the sick water (let it obey). And you are the man
who follows.  

“Mood for Love” from Boy with Thorn, by Rickey Laurentiis, © 2015. All rights are controlled by the University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, PA 15260. Used by permission of the University of Pittsburgh Press.

return to top