The Secret

Because I was too much with myself
and myself, I went down to the sea this evening.
The tide was in, and all along the sand
the dead were waiting: auger and whelk,
pecten and conch, cast up, cast back again,
rattling their spines, the green waves diced with foam.
The sea looked straight at me—
it wouldn’t flinch, this funny cemetery
while I stretched out among the tombs
surrendering the black light in my limbs,
my head, to drown it.

And now, sitting here tonight
I hear the dead at my desk
talking to the dead, lamenting.
The sea stalls in my arms and legs,
knocks at my eyes, asking for a word, any word.

I had no one to tell this to but you.

Peter Cooley
From his book Nightseasons
Carneigie-Mellon University Press, 1983

Used with permission of the poet.

Poem for September 22, 2011

Comments are closed.