Twelve Sights of the Sea

1 February 2014

{sea-anemone}
barely inside and out, the rippling enfoldment
that adheres to your nerve-tips, that draws you
further away, abandons any comfortable reassurance

{sea-breeze}
through your voice, strained to breakpoint,
hastily called upon, past your lips, parched,
cracking into bloodlines, blisters ready to weep

{sea-gull}
or swoop and dive and bank and soar
or pick scaly iridescence off your blinking eyes
or steal the thoughts leaking from your bones

{sea-horse}
from your memories of brothers, sisters,
babes-in-arms, collected, recollected, encased
by the thinnest of ivory, the purest of gold

{sea-pen}
across the ebb, the flood, the marks circumscribing
your day-long, week-long, drift through doldrums,
your irresolute desire to be elsewhere

{sea-salt}
the sweatiness of countless dock-side farewells,
the story you neglected to tell the crowds that came
and went and cheered and invariably forgot to smile

{sea-serpent}
too bright for photography, too dense for dreams,
the sun, the air, the fire ablaze underwater,
while you, alone, prepared to catch the sparks

{sea-shore}
a fleck of paint, screw-threads, unspliced fray,
is this some kind of clue? splinters, half-varnished oak,
was this your final hand-hold?

{sea-snail}
perhaps you wished for oxygen, a raft, a tightly closed
bulkhead, instructions on which way to come about
in case of break or catastrophic failure below deck

{sea-star}
what did you see, scratching for contact, before
the sky was crushed flat on its back, before
coral reefs zigged and zagged and slashed at the rain?

{sea-wasp}
useless now, the oil-skins, Mae-Westers, personal
flotation devices as required under law, a buoy
engulfed with tendrils displaced in the roil

{sea-weed}
only By-the-Wind-Sailors, storm-sintered glass,
one canvas shoe, barnacles, slow-darkening Sargasso,
the bells, a message unbottled, awaiting receipt

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