It's just poetry, it won't bite

Dive With the Living Things

01.28.14 Posted in today's words by

Jennifer Greenholt’s poem Frozen appeared here in April 2013.

Dive With the Living Things
By Jennifer Greenholt

One tire sinks in a pothole
on the shell-graveled, rain-riddled road
in the early hours (by vacation time).
Ahead, an old man furls his flag
against the threat of a storm.

He lifts his hand in a courtesy wave–
then, returned, a real wave,
one worth diving for
under the foaming crest
of a tap of beer
and asking about the decoys
displayed in his yellow-house yard,
and if they buried his best friends
in the cemetery by the back door.

What of the nets draped over his porch,
the fuchsia flowers beside his door,
and his memories
(did he leave this island, once,
hear the thunder of machine guns,
guard that flag from bullet-rain?),
why the skin droops from his shoulders,
and if rainstorms make him sad.

Eyes plead with him:
help me dive down to the real island
compose with the fish skeleton
under a photo-frozen seascape,
escape with the beach hoppers,
bury tourist fingers in the cloying mud,
and pen the living things.

The wave subsides;
eyes: no,
no pen for the living things,
just a wave before I roll on.
When my back is turned,
they’re giving two-fingered waves,
or three, or none,
and guarding flags against the storm.


Comments are closed.

Latest Podcast Episode
vox poetica archives