Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2015  v14n1
an online journal of literature and the arts
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Sea Cow

This sea cow finds her
altitude at the waterline,
crowned in amber floats
that could be lettuce
or copper dung, either way,
her body punctuates
everything around her. If I can’t be
manatee, I want at least to be
the cabbage petals
she mouths, trailing
sea grass, gently
shedding milk &
the low orbit of her calf.
She is wrapped
in underwater caul-light,
& everything
stills. I am
the fibrous teawater
seems like a happier home
than my body,
& I want in.
Where is
hope on a day like
I want to be a slow
fold when a sea
cow rises,
tiny bones floating
in a vast white comma of muscle,
because I have stepped
inside my intuition,
& it’s a cold place,
& it seems there is no
love there, & little
talent. There was only a mustachioed
man in a slick tux &
roller skates, w/ his chilled
tray of milk bottles,
& I drank them all,
so that when I kissed him
we sank in milk,
the hand-stitched scarves
lining the silver tray
sopped in cold spilled
milk, the roomy light from a
planet above, no hint of
warmaking except a lone
blimp, milky white
against the blank
eyelid of sky, the loose threads
drifting & tangling,
pale bombs
a lullaby,
gridless & soft,
what unborn in me was good
& likeable,
what could be loved
I loved. Which is fine,
I blame myself for everything I have gotten
wrong here, the loose sprouts &
sea grass, the sweetness
of milk,
shallow nurseries
bonneted in despair,
loss easy &
my face at the tank, hoping
something big
might notice me.
Maybe I drop something,
perhaps a stitch
of this unshakeable sorrow,
maybe a poem will say anything
to be loved.  end  

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