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sea poem fragments

April 2, 2008

after the hurricane

enduring rushes of sound, like a capped ear,
bending my breathing slowly.
standing on a shoal-eaten, cavernous scar,
i watch grey waves lick the sand.
seaoats bowed in prostration will straighten again.
the tiny dune flowers headless, gaping red throats
peeping among caved crab digs, rustling soundlessly.
there is always wind. and early fall is marked
by named beasts, unravelling ferocious sea sceans,
fingers of rain blasting the land. there is no keeping la mer.

she is reckless, uncouth. or is it we?
her children that fain never to have donned fins
pretending to some clay-packed crown
of star crusted bradford pears in spring.
we have forgotten that the non-natives perish
in fall winds, branches tossed as scabbards into houses.
while the palmetto merely rattles, without bursting,
and the loblolly pines stand statuesque.
they have the shallow roots, but they can bend.


in the drag of a full moon, my face unfolds
like a fan, arms heralding the surface.
i stand on the backs of my genetic kin,
their tiny skeletons rapt in each other,
pale and frozen remnants of my foremothers.
this is my time, before i am pulled under like them.
i stand and spread, breathing out a translucent cloud
of my own. their pale faces root my feet
in the brittle unforgiving sand.

the sea takes no prisoners, but bends the willing
into its folds like bedding. rusty knobs on the doors,
salty skin.

she followed her own sand-crusted feet
into the flatlands, the hot windlessness
where sirensong vanished into red clay dust.
her paintings became of wildflowers,
pinned into vases, where they posed prettily
for a day or two, and she left the tempura to thin
and crackle, like the roughness of their dying skins.

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