Saturday, February 12, 2011

'Coastline' by Hugh Behm-Steinberg

                               how we can be made out of stone
         or resemble an ancient coastline...
in the blink of the brightness,
              look at the land around us, how the sky
    gets to us, height and distance —
                           there’s so much to be desired,
it’s like drowning:
                                           the regret of drowning
                                   is the loss
                          of a narrow escape,
                  as men can do,
        lying out in the sun
                      when they’ve been drinking
                               and the light on the current
 is a line between us and the unreachable:
                                   when we sleep on the beach,
                      we do so out of faith,
    in our dreams we believe
                  in the chance to escape,
                                         to be pushed off into
                           nothing like a bird, a flying fish
              gulping, an undertow around
                                each ankle, an angel,
                        a welder on a bridge
    we float under

(published in Grand Street 54, Fall 1995)

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