Archive for May, 2016

A new poem

There Has Been a Poem
by Ellen Carey

There has been a poem
sitting, blurry, on my nightstand
when I reach for my glasses
Hiding in the medicine cabinet
behind the toothpaste
In the back of the drawer, under
the unused corkscrew
the lemon zester
the mushroom brush

It waits on the cold tile floor as I shower
hands me the grey sweater from the closet
places the long-unworn scarf at the top of the pile

It climbs into the back seat
of the car as I leave for work
squeezes in behind me
when I unlock the office door

It’s been with me a while, this poem
Buckled into the empty seat
beside me on the flight
to Pittsburgh last week
Tucked into my luggage
on the crowded flight home
Flapping in the wind
on the end of my scarf
as I scoured that city for some souvenir
inhaling the dogwood blossoms
the moist air, the city sounds

Back home, it pulls the covers back
when the alarm goes off
I pull them up again

On the day it wins this battle
I go to swim in the ocean at dawn

My poem points out the bright flowers
of red crabs, the size of toddlers’ feet
squirming in the seaweed
washed up on the sand waiting
for the gift of a higher tide

It shows me how the pale light releases each rising wave
from the dark mass of the sea, carves it into
a translucent sculpture the color of green milk glass
before tossing it into rubble and shards

It coaxes me toward that chaos
through the familiar push and pull
the brisk shock, then smooth enveloping
as I dive into the element
that was everybody’s first home

Gliding between worlds, I inhabit both
limbs slicing the tense surface
alternately weightless and heavy
pulling me forward armful by armful

My head turning and turning back
mouth open, first gulping the air
then blowing pockets of it into the sea,
I ride the rise and the fall of the swells

In this rhythm of breathe and kick and reach and roll
the poem disappears, having delivered me
to this place

Where the large shapes underwater
materialize into woodlands of kelp
Curious sea lions greet me
Tiny fish skitter away

And I, stroke after stroke, become one
of the water’s creatures again
while the gulls, high in the air
above the new bloom of the sun
keep diving toward shore.


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