Man Out of Sea
I built a man out of the sea today.
Clay waves, hurricane flotsam and jellies
Sopping into these palms’ quiet caverns—
I held seaweed and basalted sponges,
Pellucid crustaceans, their brisk bones
Bound by my tiring hands, then sculpted him.
I borrowed undulating crepes that arch
The plunging sea’s wide diminished breast
And fettled light the sternum, moldering
Oysters off the ocean’s bottomless muck
Until the chest developed through to limbs.
Concatenating a spine from dozens
Of drying seawreck planks, the whole took shape
And so I hollowed sockets, bestowed gold
Searing from the sun’s enameled margins,
Horizons of no shore—this, for his eyes!
From lichen clouds I whittled complexion,
Soon my sea-creation refined, complete.
Slicing the salty dune-crust reeds, edging them
Forearm through finger, pungent coral caked,
I combed a gaze meanwhile from crystal sands;
Gathered lightning echoes, crabs’ wires.
I stored diggers’ feet and other string bits
Of the sea then tied these straws: a shawl of hair…
The day breaks off. A beak’s shadow scours
The surf. Mammoth gulls crookedly careen.
My sea-man stands stoic as the rich-silk sea,
Moonglow, ink of veins; no gaps remain.
What scuffed vox winds I’d caught are lost,
With uncompromising choice I refused
To give my man of sea a voice. He cannot
Move—yet think of all the chaos up from where
I sledged him! Now: mine, ordered,
Tangled with pier-net skins, barnacled rust.
And so I built a man out of the sea today.
How useless he is. Inhuman. Yes, beautiful.
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