Alone with the Goddess


The young men ride their horses fast
on the wet sand of Parangtritis.
Back and forth, with the water sliding
up to them and away.
This is the sea where the goddess lives,
angry, her lover taken away.
Don’t wear red, don’t wear green here,
the people say. Do not swim in the sea.
Give her an offering.
I give a coconut to protect
the man I love. The water pushes it back.
I wade out and throw it farther.
“The goddess does not accept your gift,”
an old woman says.
I say perhaps she likes me
and we are playing a game.
The old woman is silent,
the horses wear blinders of cloth,
the young men exalt in their bodies,
not seeing right or left, pretending
to be brave. Sliding on and off
their beautiful horses
on the wet beach at Parangtritis.

from All of It Singing: New and Selected Poems (Gray Wolf Press, 2008), copyright © 2008 by Linda Gregg, used by permission of Graywolf Press.

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