Friday, April 25, 2014

Sealife

Rain on the tin chimney cap, pebbles falling on a black slate seacliff.
Everything is so hard. It all takes longer than it should, longer
than I remember it ever taking before, than i want it to. A wish is not
a promise, not that sudden spring storm that takes breath away.
A mug of tea in hand to light the keeper's soul. These rocks, this island.
Rain on the pebbled path, shattering light in ripples and shards.
The world won't pull itself into shape anymore. I've lost whatever way
I once had. It just falls apart. New paths haven't coalesced. The fog
just sits there, luffing the sails, becalmed. Fog and wind never share.
When my mind fills with fog I make no sail. Even this harbor fills
with ghosts.

        Here I am alone at last. Again and again. Do you see
where the waters meet, surge, blend, change color, finally merge?
Where green and brown become blue, and sink to ancient seabed,
slow limestone forming from the deep rain of falling plankton shell
and skeleton. Limestone is the graves of millions of sea lives.
The same layer and rind of calcium that is the mineral shine
of human teeth. Not mine, which are more than half fake, product
of a childhood spent away from treated water. Lifelong battle till my
minerals flake and fall away, leave gap and gouge in jaw and skull,
holes where pirates put gold, once, when they could.
But I have both eyes.

         And strange cavitation of sea-driven screws vortexing deep waters.
Dark shapes pass close by in the invisible rain and unsilent dark.
In the rain, in another world, I would be warm and naked under
a warming sun. But not yet. Not here. Prophecy is mere
vision that skips across an inner eye like sunlight, starshine,
bad clams. It's as corrosive as it is demanding. Skip ahead,
wild-breasted daughters of sunlit terraces on Mediterranean islets.
Let the wild boys chase you, not knowing you will tame them
once they've caught you. Who owns this trap? Its jaws full of light.

             No,
here I am slunk again in immobility. A broth of lassitude that verges
on desperation. I'm not saying I don't already know. I wish the news
were something that would save me, but it's a perishing blast of ice.
There's a blade of Antarctic iceshelf broken off and floating north,
an island of ice larger than your splayed-out hand from low orbit.
When it grounds and melts, or where, no one can guess, but there will be
hell to pay, a guaranteed disruption and dismay. Prophecy that.
For someone. I'm spinning in polar current circles, as this ice field,
touched down nowhere, frozen and lumbering along. No certainty here,
either.

      It's been awhile since I knew what shape to take to match the world's.
Every certain thing fallen away. Again and again. From first
void-filled vision to slower cracking, a splint on splintered world,
effect preceding cause. We know what caused the plane to fall,
but what caused the plane? What caused falling? It's remote. Iced over now.
Paleolithic.

         Stone axe shattering years between years. Blue red
stone shining when held just so to sun. Slickness of stream-bedded
quartzite sheens like water but doesn't lose shape. Polished sand
that once was river mouth filling the ocean plain below, now
sandstone and glinted mica shale, melted, reforged, made ever harder
beneath the pressure of a world's living, now glass. Still we can see
ripples that lay under river's glint and gleam. Glass-clear trout ghost
across memory of mountain sands that now rise up mid-lake
after being washed and ground to ocean, rippled in waves, crusted,
sealed, frozen, polished, reflecting sun again after long sleep. The memory
of water glistening stone surface as though an ancient river still flowed.
Under time-bent starlight, still, it does. There's no peace in this falling-apart
world, but the long breath of deep time, starlight on wet stone,
at least reminds us how short these few breaths are.

             Your hair
has not spread over my pillow in eons. Will we meet again, in a million years?
Perhaps these atoms, in your bones, in mine, will once again mingle,
making teeth in a future we cannot imagine. Perhaps your stone heart
will indeed be fossilized, preserved between beats as a clenched fist
in concrete sands.

         I cannot wait. Rain on galvanized tin grows louder, steady, still
circling all these eons. Rain wash me away. Rain wash all this to sand.
But the body, breathless, clings, and worries, and wants to go on,
even when we know it never could.

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