Who knows whether the sea heals or corrodes? The wading, wintered pack-beasts of the feet slough off, in spring, the dead rind of the shoes' leather detention, the big toe's yellow horn shines with a natural polish, and the whole person seems to profit. The opposite appears when dead sharks wash up along the beach for no known reason. What is more built for winning than the swept-back teeth, water-finished fins, and pure bad eyes these old, efficient forms of appetite are dressed in? Yet it looks as if the sea digested what is wished of them with viral ease and threw up what was left to stink and dry. If this shows how the sea approaches life in its propensity to feed as animal entire, then sharks are comforts, feet are terrified, but they vacation in the mystery and why not? Who knows whether the sea heals or corrodes?: what the sun burns up of it, the moon puts back.
A kind of thrill—to lie on a road
and flatten yourself,
white fur like a ball of winter,
like the March blossoms on the fruit trees,
each one folded in like
the fledgling that never made it
from the nest.
They do this when they feel threatened,
even when curious people come prod
them with sticks,
stiffening their pearly claws as a tree stiffens
its twigs for winter. What is it to be dead?
The possums know—that eternal watchfulness
by which the dead in their stately wisdom
who keep moving.