In the nighttime they talk to me. Ushered in
with the tide, the whisperers come, grasping
onto me and shaking themselves dry – dry as
a shiver tells them they once were.
I shelter them, compulsively. Warm them with
stolen moonlight and regurgitated sentiment,
all the while holding their necks like babies
and hushing louder than the water’s roar.
As darkness falls, the Atlantean bone of my
shoulders begins to quiver, dancing feverishly
in obstinate delirium. I ignore. Blunder on.
Collect troubles like sea shells and try to assemble –
mosaic-like – the shattered particles of possible
forms, wringing them dry and, like seaweed, laying
them down to rest.
The metronome of the waves ticks louder, pulling
me back until shackles of froth wreath my ankles.
Deafened or numbed by their strangled cries, I notice
none of it – warming, holding, hushing so that I forget
foot and sand must stay together.
Long ago, deep in the ocean’s bowel, our names were
writ in water. Awake now, I see its jaws closing around
me and hear – faintly – the slow retreat of the whisperers.
A ripple of loneliness passes through the otherwise
balmy still. My lungs fill with water and I shiver.
I’ve written these lines before.