(at St. Mary’s)
may the tide
that is entering even now
the lip of our understanding
carry you out
beyond the face of fear
may you kiss
the wind then turn from it
certain that it will
love your back may you
open your eyes to water
water waving forever
and may you in your innocence
sail through this to that
From Quilting: Poems 1987-1990 by Lucille Clifton. Copyright © 2001 by Lucille Clifton. Reprinted with permission of BOA Editions Ltd. All rights reserved.
I'm sorry I was late. I was pulled over by a cop for driving blindfolded with a raspberry-scented candle flickering in my mouth. I'm sorry I was late. I was on my way when I felt a plot thickening in my arm. I have a fear of heights. Luckily the Earth is on the second floor of the universe. I am not the egg man. I am the owl who just witnessed another tree fall over in the forest of your life. I am your father shaking his head at the thought of you. I am his words dissolving in your mind like footprints in a rainstorm. I am a long-legged martini. I am feeding olives to the bull inside you. I am decorating your labyrinth, tacking up snapshots of all the people who've gotten lost in your corridors.
From The Endarkenment by Jeffrey McDaniel. Copyright © 2008 by Jeffrey McDaniel. Used by permission of University of Pittsburg Press. All rights reserved.
Sailing with just the jib
The earth a broken crib
and all the babes a-squall
cry no more cry no more
There’s such a thing as bit rot
you said you said
it seemed everyone was reading
about extinction amidst the extinction
as if knowing were enabling. Winner
loses, the Marxist wrote, melancholic,
remembering the existentialist
adrift on the seas of his certainties.
To the east the sea’s growing darker
and a punctual low roar times itself
in the ear against the blood that in the ear
moves. Motorboat hour. Lobster trap check.
Exposed rock and the low tide
and an unease outstripping psychology.
Everyone dissolving into everyone
else but the lunge for the sublime
continues oh pathos and rage
for individuation. With the VR set on
the rapist feels it and then? Limits
of empathy as Noah determined
pulls up his ladder the sealed-in elect
to survive the drowners to drown.
Copyright © 2020 by Maureen N. McLane. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on May 5, 2020 by the Academy of American Poets.