"I am trying to check my habits of seeing, to counter them for the sake of greater freshness. I am trying to be unfamiliar with what I'm doing." - John Cage

Monday, January 24, 2011

From 30 poems in 30 days

For Kathleen

If we ever sat on a rock on the coast of Maine
it would be dinnertime -
sunset staining the slate water, waves slapping
the blue painted keels of boats anchored nearby.

Gulls would check us out for sandwich scraps.
Red combed mergansers
would sail past, moving without moving.
We’d chip quartz crystals from veins in the granite
with dirty fingernails, veins darkened red and brown
but the chips milky white,
tiny shards of moon in your hand.
You want to collect a good one for Joe,
talk of places you imagined in your sleep.
You say we have to remember this place.

I memorize your silhouette with
ocean between forested islands beyond,
currents we can’t see making passage uncertain.

The sun has set, dinner is ready -
we’ve missed the laughter in the house.
Alone outside, ducks retreat to safe places, tuck heads beneath wings,
boats bob in silence, the moon casts our shadows
across seaweedy sand, a breeze cuts my neck,
the lobsters are red, their screams
are finished, the butter is melted.

Tomorrow you’ll chase me from dock
to dock as I jump
into the ferry wake after Joe, him yelling
Let’s do it again! Jump

In the middle of the night steady rain will fall
on the old roof and the bent apple tree
and the quilt of green
where the baby practiced walking
(something significant that we forget ourselves)
hard rain dappling the flat ocean
while underneath, current cuts
deep channels deeper
as your mind grows deeper –

I wonder
what’s out there
between our island and the mainland.
A minke whale bends,
someone will see it in early morning
like a mirage of night sky.

But tonight we listen to the calming,
grass stems spider webs everything pressed
down, air glistening,
moonlight striated across the heavy ocean like milky crystal.

1 comment:

Laura Read said...

What a beautiful poem!