Skip to main content

Consolations of Water

ISSUE:  Winter 1996
Picking your way barefoot across the parking lot
to the beach your face contorts as your feet
press down hard on the rough points of stones—
jagged stones, dagger stones, needles and knives.
Think of these as the souls of those who raged,
stripped of everything but hardness and sharpness.
Take one in your hand, feel its fierce condition.
This man struck his wife, the woman beat her son,
the boy punched his sister, she kicked the cat.
Rage, that breathless journey beyond the skin,
the past forgotten, the future wiped out.
Break it, smash it, all consequences gone.
Rage, its embrace becomes a style of flying,
escape from the body, escape from the heart.
Who are these harsh souls scattered around you?
Anger for them was a room to feel alone in.
Blows like oarstrokes as if they strove to pull
free of the planet, the tug of gravity, to flee
the sandbags hung by fishhooks from their skin.
Anger for them was a place to feel weightless in,
to be released from the world’s grasp, the body’s
ownership, to be unclasped and unencumbered.
But the world loves its little joke, to take those
who yearn to be air and squeeze them smaller,
to compact them into blocks of anger, to carve
their carcasses into emblems of their complaint.
Granite and glass, granite and glass. Can’t we
forgive them? The world forgives them. See how
the waves stroke the beach, how the water’s
soft hands seek to rub anger from stones.


This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

Recommended Reading