Various and Sundry Poetry


i like, sometimes, to imagine myself
a beach, this long white swath
of sand, complete with interesting
seashells, abstract driftwood, a bumbling
gull here and there, beak bent on feeding,
a ribbon of froth at my edge, and everything rather
even, mostly, a lilting landscape but just barely,
solid but yielding, convinced into shape
by time and circumstance and intuitive

when i imagine this it's because
i've already drifted.
legs fumbling in blue dark water,
aiming for bottom but finding
nothing, and instead weaving themselves into
the detritus of ocean,
seaweed, gulping fish, a frenzy of plankton,
lost or losing ground, the horizon too far back,
a shapelessness altogether
and the great dizzy question of
where am i?

it is so easy to feel that lost,
thrown from all the home bases
we tag daily for safety.

if you are lucky,
there is a gift of a day when
a stretch of morning is taken up only
by morning itself,
a sleep taken up only
by sleep,
or a decision
like the one i made yesterday
to simply toss out one of the shingles of fear
mottling my rooftop.
to say to myself, i'm going to stop worrying about this one thing
i'm killing it off. cutting it off. tossing it out.

and it doesn't really matter what it was,
the fear i mean,
because it could have been anything.
it could have been any old thing
and it would have been the same,
that one patch of brackish seawater
i realized, at last, i didn't need to swim in
to stay afloat.

and to toss it out
was to return not just to the swim itself,
that blue dark water destiny,
but it was returning
to the beach too,
to the lilt and wisdom of sand,
to the yielding, frothy edge of myself
from which the horizon,
in its earnest, perfect geometry,
is, it seems, at its most