Four Wave Studies
Again, attendant on the shore: its seams,
Its tidestarts, its far-from-summer stillness.
Its staggered morning waves are lost to waves/
Pages. The sand is heavy, damp with rainstorm
From a late last night. Now, no weather frets
The loose tide upriding, tightening on the jags
Of the beach. The wavecharts say that these shallows,
Always riddled with the strafe of sunstreaks,
Are safe playing. And the atlas tells
Of easy access, of local roads, of exits.
Beside the rumor of a buried storm
And the heavy ghosts of jellyfish
A wave still homed along the edge
Of a far-gone high tide. Remains of an offing.
When they unearthed it, it was entirely
Earth: silt (Cambrian) clung to it, a ripple
Of sand spined its unbreaking curve and current.
It was nothing but what it once folded in
Upon at the end of a shoreward storm.
Recalled, perhaps, as a voice is,
Slackening in the far wings of the hall.
"Fields of undersea": mangrove forests, leaves.
Seafire? Occluded swells careening?
No. A flashlight that I carried often
Reading these sorts of books, even at noon,
Watching these sorts of scenes unfold like wavenoise
Between the pages, where one would dive into
The binding and rise out, another and the same,
Riddled with loose sand and the unstrung
Bladders of seaweed. I would look seaward
Over the tidal flats, over the strung words,
Attending. I would watch the weather turn.
Every several weeks there is that in me
Which breathes against the Arctic harshness, the wind
Raiding the shore. I've been tracing
The archive of atmospheres, cylinders
Of old weather, satellite's gatherings.
But these soundings, these scenes, were indoors, away:
No divers or the drive of trawlers scouring.
Sometimes, though, from the gut of the bay
We could see farther off—leagues, days—
How the sea held (half-held) the ice floe.