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  • Jolene Nolte

At Jean Beaty Park

by Jolene Nolte

Vancouver, BC | February 14, 2021

Cascading over the concrete retaining wall,

the green ivy’s encased in a transparent pillar

of ice as if to preserve some proof of life.

Here on the rocky beach the snow’s just now softened

to rain, punctuating the bay’s surface. Container ships,

anchored for now, make me wonder how the rain sounds

from inside. What good are the goods they contain

in an uncertain future? We ramble over rocks, take in

the half-visible scene: To the north, the Coast Mountains’

mist-veiled peaks. To the east, obscured skyscrapers.

To the west, gray ocean blurs with gray horizon, but you

I see clearly in your black hair, black coat.

One arm encircles me, the other holds your wide umbrella

over us, rain drumming steadily on its skin. I wear cut-off

ochre gloves, run my fingertips through your thick, soft hair.

Your ears and cheeks are cold, but your lips are warm.

Dear God, yes, his lips and breath are warm.

I’m all sensation as I take you in.

I’m a vessel you drink from and fill, drink from and fill

as the rain falls and the waves crest and crash.

We pause. I see your brown, gold-flecked eyes

gazing at me. You don’t know it, but all

I can think is, “I don’t want to hurt you.”

Dear God, I don’t want to hurt him.

I seal my intention, my prayer with kisses

on your neck, your cheek, your lips.

Neither of us knows the future.

The tide’s coming in.

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