[10.5 ToC]



Jesse Lichtenstein

Something in the ocean is
leaving us,
                   some material

green-fingered, fish-framed
glow-spined, fantailed, haline,
eddied and upswept, radial

and to scale, wake-cut, the shape
a warning takes before recognition.

We knew blood, current in
the stream, fluid or abstract,
did not take sides, glossed along

the continental margin where we spread
like crabgrass, formerly neutral,
tipped at the fulcrum, the bubble moves,

salt in the blood, semen
in the sea, something quick to bloom
or bleach, we could not

touch it, it would not be touched
by us, unwriting itself

from the liquid record,

chalk-carapaced, motile, 

we reached for each other,

sharded by sunlight
redounding in a great glass cage,
weight from without, we cut

ourselves slack,
                    we assented to its leaving

from above, from within us,
from below.



As the ocean becomes less basic, our relationship to it--and to our food, and to each other--gets very complicated.