We are sitting in a darkened theatre waiting for the play to begin. It is a full house. The entire run is sold out. The squeak of a pulley tells us the curtain has opened. But we do not see this because there are no stage lights, just blackness. Is the lighting operator asleep? Drunk? Murdered? Run off with the cashier? We hear movement, actors pacing, props beings shoved around. Something falls, breaks. A vase maybe? A skull? No words are spoken, just the occasional grunt. We assume it is human but cannot be sure. This must all be part of the script, this darkness, this enigma, some avant garde theatre experiment. We are game. We roll with it. To flee to the well-lit lobby for safety would be an act of cultural illiteracy. Patrons begin to murmur to their partners. I reach out to touch your arm but there is only sand. A gull cries. I smell brine.
sometimes a whisper
is just the sea destroying itself
on the beach
At Piper’s Lagoon, six harlequin ducks light up the rocky foreshore of Shack Island before taking flight. They fly low, skimming the surface of the sea. They do this to reap the aerodynamic benefit of ground effect, reducing drag upon the progress of their stubby wings. For this to work, their distance from the sea must be less than their wingspan. They do not know any of this of course. They have no slide rule or tape measure. Yet there they go. I hold a degree in biology with post-graduate coursework in field ornithology. Yet here I sit.
to sew a blue dress
from a scrap of sky, to thread
the eye with the sun
When ten percent of the population could no longer walk, the old woman wove a large basket from willow branches that were still alive and growing. The basket was covered with narrow green leaves from the living branches. The leaves danced and shimmied in the wind. They flashed in the sun like a bright ball of herring spawning their puny brains out in the tossing surf. The leaves were swooning and copulating like only chlorophyll can—beyond the strictures of blood and bone and moist openings. The basket was the old woman’s gift to the town. She told the stricken people to enter one by one, crawling to it on their elbows and bellies since their legs no longer worked. No matter how many people entered, the basket never got full. This went on for quite some while until all the belly-crawlers were inside and the basket had been closed up tight. The people who entered were never seen again, but each night fireflies would sift out through the slits between the willow branches and light up the town.
to give birth
to new shapes, we must break
some covalent bonds