John H. Bennett, Jr. Prize
Spring 2010
Brian Slusher

On the Battery

"Meditation and water are wedded for ever." —Melville

The actual picture doesn’t exist
anymore, same as the forts that
once walled its shore, but I carry
the image of you, glowing early
in our marriage, perched on a
cannon, your back to the Painted
Ladies and your face to the
sea, looking for the answers
to all the questions worth asking.
Your hair in the ocean breeze
a flowing flag of reddish-brown,
and I staring thinking Wow wow
wow, lucky man while the water
kept its dialogue with you.
You never told me what the
deep unfolded that day, but
the hand you offered me
splayed like a shell-burst felt
warm, electric, a little wet
as though you had measured
joining that vast conversation,
that great gray thought musing
in the bay. And I was glad, still
glad you took a notion to stay.
©2011 Brian Slusher