poem that leaves behind the ocean

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Poem That Leaves Behind the Ocean
Jim Moore

1
I’ve always wanted to write a poem that ends
at the ocean. How the poem gets there
doesn’t much matter, just so at last
it arrives. The manatee will be there
we saw all those years ago,
almost motionless under the water
like a pendant swaying at an invisible throat,
the one my mother used to wear
on the most special of occasions. My God
is still there, the one I prayed to as a boy:
he never answered but that didn’t keep me
from calling out to him.

2
I turn off the notification app for good,
no longer needing to know exactly how many gone.
After all, clinging to life
is what we have always done best.
We are still trying to hide
from the truth of things and who
can blame us.
Lists don’t make sense anymore,
unless toilet paper and peanut butter head them.
Last-stage patients are not being told
how crowded the ferry will be
that will take them across the river.

3
We are forbidden cafés, churches, even cemeteries.
Fishing by ourselves, however, is still permitted. As long
as we keep nothing at all. As long as we walk
back home, in darkness, empty-handed,
breathing deeply, having thrown back
what was never ours to keep.

Photo by Conor Sexton on Unsplash

the spring cricket

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The Spring Cricket Repudiates His Parable of Negritude
Rita Dove

Hell,

we just climbed. Reached the lip
and fell back, slipped

and started up again––
climbed to be climbing, sang

to be singing. It’s just what we do.
No one bothered to analyze our blues

until everybody involved
was strung out or dead; to solve

everything that was happening
while it was happening

would have taken some serious opium.
Seriously: All wisdom

is afterthought, a sort of helpless relief.
So don’t go thinking none of this grief

belongs to you: Even if
you don’t know how it

feels to fall, you can get my drift;
and I, who live it

daily, have heard
that perfect word

enough to know just when
to use it––as in:

Oh hell. Hell, no.
No ––

this is hell.

Photo by Wolfgang Hasselmann on Unsplash

el mar

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El Mar
Tracy K. Smith

There was a sea in my marriage.
And air. I sat in the middle

In a tiny house afloat
On night-colored waves.

The current rolled in
From I don’t know where.

We’d bob atop, drift
Gently out.

I liked best
When there was nothing

That I could
Or could not see.

But I know
There was more.

A map drawn on a mirror.
Globe cinched in at the poles.

Marriage is a rare game,
Its only verbs: am

And are. I aged.
Sometime ago

We sailed past bottles,
The strangest signs inside:

A toy rig. A halo of tears.
Rags like trapped doves.

Why didn’t we stop?
Didn’t sirens sing our names

In voices that begged with promise
And pity?

Photo by Matt Hardy on Unsplash

hunter

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Hunter
Phillip B. Williams

            When you were mine though not
mine at all permanently, just a body borrowed
without permission, a body interrupted,
interruptive—

the sky opened like a secret in a mouth

mouth with a word in it

word with an arrowhead in its flank: Love, small

creature it was

crying in the night beneath me

Photo by Randy Fath on Unsplash

good bones

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Good Bones
Maggie Smith

Life is short, though I keep this from my children.
Life is short, and I’ve shortened mine
in a thousand delicious, ill-advised ways,
a thousand deliciously ill-advised ways
I’ll keep from my children. The world is at least
fifty percent terrible, and that’s a conservative
estimate, though I keep this from my children.
For every bird there is a stone thrown at a bird.
For every loved child, a child broken, bagged,
sunk in a lake. Life is short and the world
is at least half terrible, and for every kind
stranger, there is one who would break you,
though I keep this from my children. I am trying
to sell them the world. Any decent realtor,
walking you through a real shithole, chirps on
about good bones: This place could be beautiful,
right? You could make this place beautiful.

Photo by Reba Spike on Unsplash

happenstance

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Happenstance
Rita Dove

When you appeared it was as if
magnets cleared the air.
I had never seen that smile before
or your hair, flying silver. Someone
waving goodbye, she was silver, too.
Of course you didn’t see me.
I called softly so you could choose
not to answer—then called again.
You turned in the light, your eyes
seeking your name.

Photo by Universal Eye on Unsplash

pristine

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Pristine
Hilda Raz

I am sick with worry when you call.
You tell me a story about ears
How the doctor asked about your earaches
Peered in and pronounced “Pristine.
Clean as a whistle.” And you were cured.
Because I am a maker of poems
And you are a maker of music
You tell me the word pristine was perfect.
It was the cure.
Yesterday I went to the hospital
To hear my heart beat in her various chambers.
I knew the sounds:
The Fly Bird from the right ventricle
The Go Go from the left
The Here I am from under the rib.

 

Photo by camilo jimenez on Unsplash