Poem with a Cucumber in It
Sometimes from this hillside just after sunset The rim of the sky takes on a tinge Of the palest green, like the flesh of a cucumber When you peel it carefully. * In Crete once, in the summer, When it was still hot at midnight, We sat in a taverna by the water Watching the squid boats rocking in the moonlight, Drinking retsina and eating salads Of cool, chopped cucumber and yogurt and a little dill. * A hint of salt, something like starch, something Like an attar of grasses or green leaves On the tongue is the tongue And the cucumber Evolving toward each other. * Since cumbersome is a word, Cumber must have been a word, Lost to us now, and even then, For a person feeling encumbered, It must have felt orderly and right-minded To stand at a sink and slice a cucumber. * If you think I am going to make A sexual joke in this poem, you are mistaken. * In the old torment of the earth When the fires were cooling and disposing themselves Into granite and limestone and serpentine and shale, It is possible to imagine that, under yellowish chemical clouds, The molten froth, having burned long enough, Was already dreaming of release, And that the dream, dimly But with increasingly distinctness, took the form Of water, and that it was then, still more dimly, that it imagined The dark green skin and opal green flesh of cucumbers.