Lightsey DarstListen


We wouldn’t feel the sea
if it were luke like us.

The sea takes: three hours ago six men crossed
this current for the last time. Their widows will spend

the leftover weeks
swimming breathless laps in the lagoon.

The sea makes: to save herself from self
the girl swims crawl from shore to shore:

keen water on her thighs, and feet
forcing themselves together in the flap of a tail.

How different a dream, if I climb
over a mountain on the back of a chestnut pony, and find

a tiny star-shaped lake. But here
the hurricane rises like god’s arm from the water.

Aftermath: broken glass, coast strewn with lumber. Luminous organs
of deepsea lovers pale and popping on the sand.

Jade Goddess

Far north, the splinter of pack ice divorcing
sheet from sheet. In the west, wind; in the south,

sun burning so hot no man could stand
on deck, no one could touch a cleat. And at

the bottom of the sea, which half
your poor crew saw, pearls, and deep

in the sea pearls.
Once I was worth all this. I in my loose robe

stretched at the pier’s limit,
I was Orient then,

riches rising beyond catalogue, unfolded
ruby, sandalwood, mountains bound in jasmine.

How many nights you split my moon
before you tired of me: you,

true explorer, loved what you did not know.
What you knew, you sold.



  The 2River View