The Left Bank

Lying back on cut grass, poked
by straw, stalks chafe our sides
until we laugh at what a bed
we lie in. The cicada burns August

into an idiot rhyme, a whine
that quantifies the heat. The lake
evaporates to our left, heat lines
rising, the left bank bending as if

through blown glass. Halfway here
a mouse plopped on the windshield,
dropping out of the rotten wicker
seat of the canoe. It looked right

at me, eyes widening going 50 down
a dirt road. It shat pressed against
the glass, then jumped off when I stopped.
And a yellowjacket keeps sliding off

a weed, a bud of clover. It climbs
back on, humming to itself, smeared
with pollen, smashed. I’m frightened of you.
As we make love for the first time

outside, it’s as if I’m not there.
I rest my head on the drops of sweat
still sticking to your chest and hear
your heart roaring like a hive. The child

inside is listening, alert, partial
wave. I feel my own heart beating
on your arm, amazed. Late that night
I shower, my chest still swarming.

Explain it as a horde of bees,
a whirring spiral rising like mayflies
by the lake today. A single mass shaped
by wings, infolding, turning in a cloud.

Or else a sea of mice, a single-minded
stream of lemmings. A soft stampede
of padded feet, a waterfall of tails
and I wonder if they act as one.

Or if each one sizes up the sea, then jumps
and how they know who stays behind.