The mate in spandex straps us, front and back,
to flapping canvas sail and walks us backwards
to the speedboat’s slippery stern, back
to where the blue-green sea roils in the backwash.
You shout, “This is great,” but I shout back,
“Let’s ask the captain for our money back.”
And then a windstorm lifts us. Looking back,
I see us rising, slipping off the back
from safety into sky. The one way back
is down. I yell, “Too high!” and pull you back
though you’re not scared—not here, or back
at home, where I press, sleeping, to your back,
afraid to lose you, who holds nothing back.
—from Rattle #32, Winter 2009
Tribute to the Sonnet
Chris Bullard: “I wrote this sonnet in Kim Addonizio’s workshop at the West Chester University Poetry Conference. Kim wanted us to invent a new poetic form. I was interested in the ghazal with its repetitive use of the same word in different contexts. I found, as I worked on this poem, that I could create a similar effect within the sonnet form. Call it a sonzal. Kim offered some suggestions on my first draft that I incorporated into this version.”