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Supposing the Ocean


ISSUE:  Summer 1981
As if my dad had said: “fetch!”
& then disappeared,
my jagging circles
beat the grass down
where I hunt & come back
one more tired time
for just a little
more light
where there’s none.

I don’t know what was meant.
I’ve gone illegally far away,
sneaking past maritime barriers
because I supposed the ocean
might have it;
I brought conches back—
no good. Was I supposed
to bring the ocean?

& even tracking this poem,
which feels like right
action, is done as if
for someone already gone:
that must be why
I beat the grass down
at the center of my orbits
at the bottom of this long slope
where my “lower foot
is the firm one”—learning,
with eyes down, to
translate Dante.

I keep coming back.
Nothing fills this hole,
where I just can’t let
the grass thrive,
where the grass thrives.

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