by Victoria Luizzi
Out in the tide pools
An octopus crawls with strange intelligence
Over the rocks.
Sea snails coil in on themselves,
Feet on the reef,
Each body its own anchor.
Night sounds from the forest
Are covered by the night sound of the ocean,
Like the day sound of the ocean,
The sound of wheeling and turning,
Of being pulled—
Not every eye is made for making sure
The moon is there,
Some bodies a softness for being tossed
And flowed over.
(The moon is there—
I know with my eyes—
And perhaps it is the same to feel water over gills.)
If we grow tight around something and it disappears,
How long until we unfold again?
Somewhere in the live night is a fruit no living jaw can open.
Somewhere in the live night is a seed anyway.
Back up the beach the trees begin:
Terminalia and kapok and sharp-smelling mahogany.
It has only taken ten days for constant rain to feel necessary,
For me to forget that anything ever goes without dampness—
How strange then this brown sharp bark
Curving around its secret sparking core.
The night is high and full and teeming,
And we tilt our animal faces upward to explain.
Later I will tell people about how many stars there were
Because we can speak of the night sky
In a strange universal language of awe, because
I can see lights that warm other worlds
and lights that nothing with eyes has ever been close to
and I am too small and too far to know the difference
Nearly always translates, somehow,
Into something that sits dense and radiant in the throat,
Shivers through the brain in harmonics so high and close
The whole body clatters.
(It is the clattering I am trying to tell about.)
But why does it come up from the ocean
And down the beach from the trees—
Is it that we do not understand,
Or is it that understanding is never over?
Somewhere up and behind us, in the dark,
The forest chatters to itself,
Telling endlessly in its calls and colors
The history of its aliveness.
By the time we hear it all
It will be different.
Meanwhile the dog snapper with its teeth and its huge stillness,
And the calabash tree,
And the hermit crabs in the showers,
Will continue their slow bending
And in the loud night
I will try to hear them go by.