Robert Rorabeck

Bronze Star - 2,195 Points (04/10/1978 / Berrien Springs)

Her Gaze That Beam - Poem by Robert Rorabeck

We will live in our own property,
Separated by our bodies, our
Secret hungers steal into the
Chicken coup after the magic ends;
It is so late, but the miner’s are still
Down beneath the earth,
Burrowing like hungry foxes;
They do not know that their
Daughters are getting married right
Now to red haired men
Who have deserted the army—
In celebrations, men take women
Hand in hand; they reach over
Fences, they drive across state lines
To look into the virgin’s eyes,
To take her in their arms across the
Threshold and stomp on wooden
Floors high above the workers heads.
In the ancient hollers, in the moonshine
Basins cut into the earth,
Men look for her beyond themselves,
A wife like a diamond,
The preciousness brought to the lips,
Inspected by the eye,
And once secured, identified,
Held in their hand, given a name,
A value, a place to sleep,
Brought across continents
And shipped overseas, given whitewashed
Homes in somber green yards,
Rose bushes and dishes to wash—
Then, when the men come home they
Observe the wealth, their accomplishment:
A woman in their living room cooking them
Dinner. The back of a woman’s neck
Shaped like a marble slope;
Her scent reminds them of places
They’ve never been—
The orange groves of Valencia, Spain,
And the Roman battlements high on the cliffs
Overlooking the sea,
Her eyes, the places that they are brought across,
Caravans of loneliness to the oasis.
What she can prepare for them and serves
To them at the dinner table:
Hope, accomplishment away from the segregated
Bodies that garment gravity and rust,
Children, the infant seedlings, the continuation
Of existence,
The fertilization of lips
Reaching over the fence,
The borders without will—
Pressing like coal for eons,
Mined from a marriage bed of principal—
Her legs the rich veins, the star dust
That brings men across their long lonely fields,
Her gaze that beam which disintegrates

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Poem Submitted: Sunday, May 15, 2011

Poem Edited: Monday, May 16, 2011

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