Tuesday, September 11, 2012

poem of last week

Last Trip to the Island

You're mad that I can't love the ocean,

but I've come to this world landlocked
 and some bodies feel permanently strange.
 Like any foreign language, study it too late and
 it never sticks. Anyway,

we're here aren't we? —
 trudging up the sand, the water churning
 its constant horny noise, an openmouthed heavy

breathing made more unnerving by
 the presence of all these families, the toddlers

with their chapped bottoms, the fathers
 in gigantic trunks spreading out their dopey
 circus-colored gear.

How can anyone relax
 near something so worked up all the time?

I know the ocean is glamorous,
 but the hypnosis, the dilated pull of it, feels

impossible to resist. And what better reason to
 resist? I'm most comfortable in

a field, a yellow-eared patch
 of cereal, whose quiet rustling argues for
 the underrated valor of discretion.

And above this, I admire a certain quality of
 sky, like an older woman who wears her jewels with
 an air of distance, that is, lightly,
 with the right attitude. Unlike your ocean,

there's nothing sneaky about a field. I like their
 ugly-girl frankness. I like that, sitting in the dirt,

I can hear what's coming between the stalks.

Erin Belieu
 Black Box
Copper Canyon Press

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