Clarinda Harriss



Spindrift, n. Spray blown from a rough sea or surf.
........................"The mountainous seas crashed down upon our decks, and the stinging, wind-
........................driven spindrift burned its way into our flesh." –Vaughn. [Webster’s New
........................Unabridged Dictionary]

I hate the word "squander"
but I love the way you do it,
the way you cast your gold
into the wind and it flies

back in our faces as mist, but
no, not so cold: as buttery salt,
melted and lovely to lick.
With you standing over me

naked, half-lit by hall light
I think of your father tending
the open hearth at the steel mill
in his woolen shirt,

the fibers kinking like hair
in the hundred-forty-five heat
while the molten slag set
the Patapsco River on fire

every Baltimore midnight
near where Moran’s Tugboats
worked and rich people’s
sailboats lay at anchor.

I think of your sailboat,
how I never met it but still
feel it under me sometimes,
a phantom leg of the Bay.

On the wide white deck
of your bed I’ve felt the sea crash
and the wind-driven spindrift burn
its way into my flesh.




Clarinda Harriss teaches poetry and creative writing in the English Department at Towson University. Her latest book publications are When Divas Dance, with Chezia Thompson Cager and Kendra Kopelke (Maisonneuve Press, 2004), and a full collection of poems, Air Travel (Half Moon Editions, 2005). Recently she took first place in Pagitica's poetry competition and second place in Carve Magazine's annual Raymond Carver fiction competition. She directs BrickHouse Books, Inc., Maryland's oldest continuously publishing literary press, and works with prison writers.