Hans Ostrom

Silver Star - 3,369 Points (1954 / California)

Island Fever - Poem by Hans Ostrom

There’s not enough of here.
We’ve memorized the coastline.
We plan for surprising storms.

Native birds are too big, bright, & loud
for the venue. West manufactures
“beautiful sunset” every day. Our drinking-

water smells of boiled crabs. Every porch
sags with rot. We loathe tourists because
they fall for all the island’s gimmicks, including

sand, palm trees, and our menus. No one ever
meant or was meant to live here: Long-boats
of natives’ ancestors got shoved here in

an anomalous storm. Later arrivals were
victims of delusional cartographers. Well,
we’re all cousins now. Like us, our children

play with their food, make islands of mashed
potatoes in seas of gravy. This pile of rock
is slightly higher than the reefs—a volcanic

achievement that’s become a “romantic
get-away.” We don’t wish the ocean ill.
All we want is just for once to walk in any

direction on an aimless plain and not
bump into anything soon or
something we knew was coming.


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Poem Submitted: Friday, November 2, 2007

Poem Edited: Thursday, April 21, 2011


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