They met on the Isle of Capri,
He, a naval officer who liked what he saw.
There is a garden in her face,
where roses and white lilies grow.
She, an aspiring actress, unaware of his gaze.
Growing up in Istanbul she knew how to fly
at an early age, a whirling dancer for Sunday guests
in the parlor, a scintillating Shirley Temple performer
spinning a grindstone’s shower of sparks.
He was her anchor tethering her down
like a hot air balloon on the ground.
Charismatic, she chattered like a tree full of grackles.
He listened. She has a radiant smile and numinous eyes.
Of Nordic ancestry he was detached and monosyllabic.
Free as a peregrine in flight, she soared. He marched.
She beautified their abode with lush peonies and wild
pennyroyal. Artfully funny, she never could get s laugh
out of him.
They sailed around the world. He knew where they were going
and how to get there. In naked beauty more adorned she stood
on the bow listening to the larruping waves slapping the prow,
as she reveled in the sun, wind and gusts of salt spray.
For over fifty years they dined in the same kitchen galley,
shared the same sleeping bunk where arms and legs blanketed
each other slumbering in harmonizing deep breaths.
Even their treasured Siamese cat joined in purring away
in monotonous cadence.
One morning he awakes to find the curtain coming down
on his gracious flame as she breathed her last breath.
With a firm hand on the tiller he sailed out toward
a horizon-less vista and transported her soul to its rightful
place in a star-studded sky of the higher heavens.
Milton P. Ehrlich