PENHEAD PRESS CHALLENGE: #2 Six Words —— A Sestina by Norah Vawter


By The Sea —— A Sestina

It’s winter, the five-year anniversary of our first date and we are alone together,
in this hotel restaurant by the sea.
We sit by both the window and the fire,
and our decadent dinner makes us laugh.
Who knew that breaking the sugary surface
of crème Brule could be so delightful and so simple?

Meeting you was simple
You lived in my dorm and soon we were always together
Soon we were below the surface
of our sheets, like creatures in the sea.
Your silly games made me laugh.
Inside me, you lit a fire.

At dinner, warmed by the fire
we get to look sweetly at each other, be light and simple.
I cherish each laugh
and the brittle cold as we venture out together
to walk on the sand and touch the sea—
just skim the surface.

Back in the hotel, we jump in the pool, breaking the surface.
The warm water bubbles like it is overtop a fire.
It is not the sea
not natural, not so simple,
But we swim together.
We laugh.

Because you chase me you are my laugh.
Because you let me rest on you, you are my surface.
Because we’re getting married, you are my together.
Because you light me up and get me horny, you are my fire,
Because you need so little you are my simple.
And because you are my favorite, you are my sea.

By now, we’re married. We were married by the sea.
on a day of doors opening and closing, of laughter.
All the plans for photos and cake, but it was simple,
I remember the surface,
The texture of the day, and your hair in the wind and the fire
Of the cord that bound us together.

I will see you in the sea, beneath the surface.
I will hear your laughter in the fire.
I will kiss your simplicity and we will be together.

Copyright © 2014 by Norah Vawter


Norah Vawter wishes that time travel was possible so she could visit the 1920s and party with Scott Fitzgerald, then talk literature. She got her MFA in fiction from George Mason University. Her writing has appeared most recently in Stymie, The Tottenville Review, and Opium, and is forthcoming from The Nassau Review. She is working on her first novel.




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