Poem: Stout

Honshu, Japan earthquake tsunami, 2011

 

Stout

by Shannon Laws

 

The thick boned world stabs
at the ocean and moves it
Sea lifts its skirt of waves
crashes them to Earth’s shore

It was enough

It was enough to be stabbed
to relocate away from the familiar
deep lava vents that warmed
the current with breath of conversation

Sea ran to the Earth and lay on it
the soil looks away confused by
seaweed and floss turning in the sky
the life of saltwater raises skins coffin

The Earth is a son of a bitch
that pecks at us all, come hither it calls

Sea laid down its dress on mounds
dirt had no option but to devour

 

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Poem: Mermaid Rosary

Mermaid by Jerichau-Baumann

 

Mermaid Rosary

by Shannon Laws

 

Our Lady of Wayward Currents
finds her home off the highway
A curious thing to find
a candle flame so deep in the bay

One o’clock sun sets it off
fanned by the hulls of sailor’s vessels

Some call it holy to carry a
love for the ocean
tattooed on your arm
I carry mine in a pocket
with loose change

 

 

Dive

Walking along the pier, right at the elbow that bends up towards Fairhaven, I notice a shy heron walking deliberately among the pilings.  It’s twin legs and long neck hide the bird as it rests near the jagged grey-brown grain of whole trees, de-barked and weathered.  Only when the heron gracefully kissed the water for fish, did I notice it.

Not many others on the pier at 7 in the morning, on a Sunday, in July.  I’m thankful for the feeling that I own the place.  The tide is low, and mossy rocks air out their backs.  One set of rock reminds me of a dragon, resting it’s head in the water, another group looks like an ancient pillar that fell at conquest centuries ago, the segments now broken, as a dotted line.

Eelgrass catches my attention.  Bent over in the heavy current, sways gently, little wind to push them both.  It looks so soft I want to dive into it.  My mother trained us to NOT swim in grassy water; tree branches lurked under there and will snag your clothes to death.  This morning, I want to swim in the dangerous grassy water.  Will the tips and smooth edges of the blades tickle me?  My laughter would echo with the morning birds.

I want to do it.

eelgrass 2
Northwest Eelgrass

Christmas Eve Walk

The legs of the pier were standing on the sky.  The bay water thick, and the activity of what plays in it a mystery to my eye.  Clouds and patches of blue, just fainting from the late afternoon, spread over the waves.  
Sky dancing on the Sea

Various sea fowl floated along, feet paddle as rudders, guide them wherever they want to go.  Where did they want to go?  Were the birds out for a walk?  A walk before dusk, before the sun sets and they sleep in nests I cannot guess to know the location?  What sort of blood would a water bird have to not freeze up on a day like this?  
I need to know all of this, wondering about everything I see, today this walk distracts me, I am filled with wonder!
I walk.  I walk alone.  Determined to cry if I wanted, if the tears came.  If the tears rise up inside me, I would let them flow, because I was alone, and I would allowed it.  It did not bother me myself too heavy, that my scarf and hat did not match, that my shoes had a small tear in the left toe, because I was alone, and I am happy.  I am happy and comfortable with myself.  Right now, I am happy and free and I feel like crying tears of happiness… 
Or is it the cold wind finding it’s way to 
the water I carry behind my iris?  
Pulling drops out with each blink, 
as gentle as a Grandmother in her kitchen.
I want to hug this damn planet.  This scene on the waterfront.  ‘Effing Christmas Eve and people are drinking hot chocolate, walking with family, friends, and their dogs.  People are happy here.  Right here!  Right now!
A dog off leash barks a happy hello to me, as if it knows me, as if we are long lost friends, separated on a trip to France, torn apart by war, each thought the other dead, but now- discover the other is alive!  
It’s the happiest bark I have ever had the privilege of receiving.  
The Happiest Dog EVER

The black lab, walks quickly towards me and brushes my left leg like a hug, tail wagging, tongue dripping out of its open mouth, nose pointing, below the dock, below on the beach- a young German Sheppard is playing fetch with its owners.  The Sheppard barks a hello back to my long lost friend.  How easy it is to understand the language of “dog”.  They are simple.

I walk from Fairhaven, along the pier to Boulevard Park, around the loop and then back towards my car.  I see all sorts of people; joggers, walkers, strollers, families, people of all ages.  No otters today, only birds floating on the sky.

Sea Otters on Vacation

I imagine a post card from the Otters, a photo of a furry family floating on Californian sea kelp, “Having fun, fish you were here”
I stop where the pier bends uphill, away from the water.  Then I see it- just there, right over there, between the spit I can walk to, and an island across the bay, …just there in a “V” shaped, black land-line at the horizon, is the glow of the winter sun setting.  A peach, then pink, soon dark purple, then stars.  I stare at it for a while.
A walker-lady stops and asks me, “Do you see anything interesting?”

“No, nothing today, not even the otters”

***