For this to work you need a rowboat,
someone besides you
beside you, and enough rhythm to go around—
then listen to the way
of rhyming time with space
the water has. —The waves
you can hear anytime,
you can stand amid the wrack in any spray zone
and hear the waves in droves—
until their fluency beleaguers you so
you can’t say no to the ocean and in you go.
But for this to work
you must will the lull
upon the fury of July, will all
that is circumfluous between calamity
and the calm of incongruous June. You can come anytime
a jarring setting, a glimpse thereof
like a blow to the back of the head from the one you love—
huge colors roaming the coastline in packs.
Atop the bluff, a lone hue poised to attack.
In the wild, in large groups, little blues enter
while all around your rowed, rowed boat
jellyfish wiggle like toes being washed between,
toes scrubbed clean and rubbed dry.
Then August starts kicking a hole in July and sticking
its own sky through. In this dream about following through
with the dream and not its coming true,
about bearing the brunt of the lull, the blunt object informing the skull
of sound as all hollow, there is a moment
when your most poetic virtue turns into a flotation device
and you cling to it even as it capsizes,
surrender to surrounding
rendered fluid, between,
something that deliquesces and gels,
deliquesces and gels, deliquesces and gels,
deliquesces and gels.
And then, just as seize and cease
begin to overlap, fall circling, fin visible,
September curves all the way around.
Maybe we wake up in the hull,
stretched out together like two good days in a row.
Now mist disorients the sea,
squirming, queasy. Grays yellow, greens gray.
Blue’s nowhere to be seen. So this is
the moment. Show me your tentacles. No one can see.
This is the moment no one can see
coming—when you open your mouth
and out a story oozes,
based on the life of a skirmish
between green and blue,
a jellyfish emergent in the telling.
Show me your myriad self—
more lesson, less moral.
Make me a verb out of coral. Make me a noun that’s still forming
and will still be forming, foaming at the mouth.
Make me an adjective crawling, lone,
from the adjectival wreckage , black.
I’ll learn it all by rote, then not. I’ll recall as the boat lists
coveward now, now toward the spreading center, oars long gone.
Is the sea listening? It says so.