By Sea

By Sea
If I were to write on water, where would I start?
Mountains. Mouths. Drownings. Drought.

The world grows bluer. The world grows in disorder.
Old sea, old friend, empty as a cathedral.

One white gull witnessed my first loss.
It wasn’t its stare but its flight that hurt the most.

Blue throat, green throat,
the sea is devoted to salt.

I can’t speak sea, its difficult
shifts and cold percussive syllables.

Anti-terrestrial, it makes utter
nonsense of prepositions—

the tide is running in and out, the dipped oar
is broken, the seal is everywhere at once.

The sea is master of narrative shocks.
Under water no punch lands, plans

get wrecked, heroes get washed up.
Soundtrack, boom. Theme, entanglement.

The sea grows fish tails,
wild rivers, water drops.

The sea has deep lungs
bringing bone from the shadows to the light.

Where it tips from view we call the horizon.
Because things vanish there, it seems reliable and final.

Explorers, don’t believe your eyes. No line is ever final.
The sea brims with paradox—

raw and roomy, it will stifle you;
full of water, none of it drinkable.

Always another way. By sea, by sea.
For its mercurial surface, its deep

attentiveness to loss, I go in.
Because something enormous

is changing its tune
again and again and again . . .