Switched-on Gutenberg Issue 16
Galileo conceded that the pounding of one’s heart
               could cause Jupiter to jump out of one’s field of view.

                –D. Sobel, Longitude

Between them blooms the raft of August.
Arms cut a lake into a thousand mirrors.
Plunging into water, the taste of peaches
drifts from shore—they tangle in the deep,
become the other. Lips move over the surface
eyes mirror something dark and rising.
A mast on the horizon falling, rising,
men shudder together in the doldrums of August
time-loosed spindrift racks the surface,
while the inconstant moon jumps like a lead-backed mirror.
In the back of the cart, a cat lies hay-deep,
dreams of small dogs among baskets of peaches.
Galileo dreams the fragrance of peaches
in his hillside orchard with summer heat rising
before dawn to chart ephemerides. Deep
in his scope, Jupiter moons darken, heretic or august?
His bastard daughter, from the nunnery, holds the mirror
pinioned breaths refuse to glaze the surface.
Across the ocean’s forehead dolphins surface
nosing strange balls that turn into peaches
cast from a ship ground on uncharted reef, mirrors
the crisis in Rome, the arc of science rising.
From the backlit campo a flood, a gust,
of foregone light, moon’s seas deepen.
On the old maps a monster twists in the deep,
ripples under the Church’s untested surface.
While the pope sits drinking in a gust-
atory revel, the sea is rising
around him, he reaches for peaches.
The crime for heresy, for Earth not centric, this mere
Galileo forfeited, blade like a mirror.
From his red throne he watches a beloved sunk deep.
And now even he can’t believe in saints rising
to slay the dragons that threaten his surfeit.
He longs only for a lake, a white arm, peaches
that made them gods of the night that August.
Now watch Callisto rising in August
surface turned mirror, on the sleeve of the deep,
trailing the perilous fragrance of peaches

Sunrise at Sea (Cape Disappointment)
Copyright 2010, David Francis

Copyright 2010,  Kim Hamilton

Kim Hamilton lives in London,  a stone’s throw from George Vancouver’s grave.  She has published in Switched-on GutenbergPoets WestSpillway and Seattle Arts, and has won a few minor prizes.

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