Braced against the gunnels, casting his line out to sea,
He lures a dorado and it bites.
Pulls up on the rod to keep the fish swimming towards the sun.
Begins a patient dance,
Pressing his thumb on the line,
Ready to release the tension
If the fish struggles.
A 60 lb fish on a 15 lb line
Must be cajoled and courted with care,
Or it will bolt and break away–
Diving into the depths
Never to be seen again.
But he is patient
And wise.
Lets the fish swim a ways,
Then pulls it back,
Tiring it out,
Little by little,
Until it swims alongside the boat
And his coxswain can grab the gaffing hook–
Pierce its side and heave it on board,
Both men stumbling backward–
Having battled and won.

He prepares a meal with the same patience,
The same sagacious care.
Is picky about his produce–
Selects the perfect pepper,
Skin smooth and luminous under the light
Pouring in from his kitchen window.
He minces garlic,
Releasing cloves from their paper shells.
A task some find tedious,
But to him is pleasurable–
The foundation for the feast to come.
Slowly he builds the elements–
Heats the olive oil,
Sautes the garlic,
Simmers the tomato paste,
Splashes in the chicken broth,
Adds the cream,
Tasting and sprinkling in spices
And aromatic herbs,
Swiftly waltzing from counter to sink to stove,
Loving every minute of it.

He fashions his poetry with equal mindfulness.
Reaches down into the depths of grief,
Finds a flower of hope.
Feels apricity
And writes of promise.
Carefully, he searches for words
To convey his thoughts,
Captures the nuances of meanings,
Creates twists and turns of phrases.
Curious, he delves into compendiums of knowledge
To challenge the cursory reader–
Encourages critical thinking,
Inspires empathy for humanity.

He makes love with similar attentiveness
And creative fire.
Starting with a kiss
That sends shivers into my soul,
He caresses
And strokes,
Tenderly searching for truth,
Letting me out,
Pulling me in,
Pulsing with the tide.
His firm hands hold me,
Lift me,
Protect me.
Shared sensations of trust
And compassion
Over all adversity
Build us to euphoria.
Waves and waves wash over me.
Spent, I feel his fingertips trace my skin
While he quietly talks of memories and poetry.
My head rests against his chest
And hears his voice resonating and good.
Peace fills my heart.

This is a kaleidoscope of my lover.

Carla Martin has lived in New York, Scotland, Pasadena and finally Bakersfield, California for the past thirty-three years. She can be found entertaining students of all ages in the classroom with her stories and guitar, or sequestered at a back table in a coffee cafe, writing poetry. A frequent performer at local poetry open mic events, Carla also interviews other poets and songwriters for the website and is an avid supporter of the creative arts in Bakersfield. She has published poems in Writers of Kern 2018 anthology Reach for the Sky and California State University Bakersfield’s 2018 and 2019 anthologies Flora and Fauna and Sound. Her website is Twitter is CarlaJoyPoetry.