The Return

I take as tenderness the soft curve

a red car makes to miss me,

my body half outside


            the narrow shoulder

            of what undid me once: Hover of late light, aquatint


            on your bare back, unlined by the illogic

            of bikini straps. My far-away look outran yours


            past dunes and wood-stubble fences, to a tower of pines

            where someone carved, into feathered bark,


            a filthy name for the pinkest part of my flesh.

            Silent in the back seat


            we crossed the Sagamore. I wrapped my arms

            around a cardboard box: Euclidean geometry


            agape at moon and cockle shells,

            the improbable perfections of dried wild roses.


Taillights hemorrhage at the bend,

the trees, up ahead, still inured

to unglisten.



Annette Oxindine’s poems appear in Gulf Coast, Willow Springs, Crab Creek Review, Shenandoah, RHINO Poetry, and New Orleans Review, among others, and are forthcoming in Gargoyle, Radar Poetry, and Southern Indiana Review. She has also published academic essays, primarily about the fiction of Virginia Woolf. She lives in Ohio, where she teaches literature at Wright State University, and wistfully downloads audio files that conjure up life by the sea, as the art of being in one place at one time continues to elude her.