I loved him most
when he came home from work,
his fingers still curled from fitting pipe,
his denim shirt ringed with sweat
and smelling of salt, the drying weeds
of the ocean. I’d go to where he sat
on the edge of the bed, his forehead
anointed with grease, his cracked hands
jammed between his thighs, and unlace
the steel-toed boots, stroke his ankles
and calves, the pads and bones of his feet.
Then I’d open his clothes and take
the whole day inside me — the ship’s
gray sides, the miles of copper pipe,
the voice of the foreman clanging
off the hull’s silver ribs. Spark of lead
kissing metal. The clamp, the winch,
the white fire of the torch, the whistle,
and the long drive home.
I tried to explain this poem to sublimate a few months back, and failed miserably. “It’s about a woman… smelling her husband when he comes home from work?” is I think what I said. But here it is, in its awesome fullness.
I live in Texas now. It’s real hot here.
-F. Scott Fitzgerald, “Tender is the Night” —Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald (via pinpricks)