Instead of Elegy

A slight tug at my DNA
a tighter grip on my crow’s feet

the white glare on the waveless sea
watered-down with gusts of rain

as I follow a road that hugs the coast
to a disused lighthouse at Cape Meares

dragging a hydra-headed hurt
till I stumble on the trunkless Octopus Tree

When you were green were your limbs forced down
hard to the ground, were you pilloried

till you elbowed up like a candelabra
were you told ‘no, you’re an octopus tree’

I can’t stop looking at what I see
where a trunk never was, so close to me

Star Sestina

Sometimes you hear a story like this.
Some lives seem to hang by a star
like the single one in the afternoon sky,
the loveliest one that aligns with your face
when your mother calls, and you go in the gate
left open between the house and the flowers.

I come from women who know what flowers
will stand the salt. And it comes down to this—
summers of sea-thrift beyond the gate
and slender sandwort, a five-petalled star,
and fog and butterflies licking your face
when you lie all day looking up at the sky.

Banana Boat with Sharks

Books on the shelf lean to the open window
behaving like flowers

above them a painting of a purple boat
curved like a banana

and four nut-brown fishermen with spears
curved limbs curved hats and rictus grins

showing rows of separated teeth
the spitting image of the teeth of four sharks

swimming beneath (fish and men with different lungs
kept apart by the signature Annie T who is the artist)

men and fish wide awake and the moment
about to arrive and swell those depths

everything bends past knowing
every painting and every book

Epithalamion on Fire Island

Having watched the gulls gather and fly off
Over a sea as wrinkled as old cloth

Having opened the lid and tipped the sudden air
Having pushed and plunged with your dolphin parents there

Having spent a spring on an hour of earth
keeping a level eye with the eye of the worm

Having wandered to the heart of the wind and heard it talk
the way a candle makes you want to talk

Having made something out of something you have broken
Having felt happiness explode and double,