Poetry from NHI publications

for Sylvia Plath
I lived in a cave for 30 days and 30 nights
on an island rolled free
from a sleeping giant's hand.
No other pulse
just the wet slide of crabs
as my mind sworded through many shadows.

I thought of my father —
too much the Prussian officer.
I thought of my mother —
too much the pauper...
and I dreamt of a glass girl
that the wind had blown over.

I listened to the broken ocean —
full of dirt and rubber and crucifixes.
I watched the lights of a timid ship
begging for pier and land
on an ungiving horizon
and I lost the fight for sleep,
squirming in the wet-shadowed darkness.

Each night I listened to the negro ocean
rattle its chains,
each night I listened to the fishsweat ocean
rattle its sheets like shack tin.
each night I listened to the white and feverish ocean
begging to die.

The ocean wallowed like a pig,
begging to die,
but the moon gnawed at its spine
with a hunger never satisfied,
pounding its fists
like a drunkard at a table,
yelling for more.

As the ocean fell to its knees
like a washerwoman
and scrubbed at the rocks
till they gleamed like marble,
till the gluttonous moon
was drunk with laughter...

At last I could stand it no longer.
I lifted a heavy and murderous rock to the heavens
and brought it down
against the ocean's beautiful turquoise head
but the ocean would not die.

In sadness and fury
the ocean ran through the village
looking for Mercy and her sword
but the ocean could never find
that murderous saviour.

Seeing the ocean's torment
the clouds ran across the sky
dripping their betrayal
and the moon
cackled its bony laughter...

and each night
the ocean wallows like a pig,
begging to die.

and each night
the ocean throws itself
against beautiful razors.

but it cannot die.

and the stars in the sky bleat
their heathen electricity...
New Hope International Vol.13 #3

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