Browsing literary journals is a good way to keep close to the craft and its trends, sometimes dangerous ’cause you can get caught up in them. Found this a while back while browsing Spinning Jenny, a literary journal:
I can hear the ocean in my empty Pelligrino bottle.
I put it up to my ear and watch my neighbor’s flag fly stiff in an October breeze
that reminds me, the way all wind does,
of jumping the Wallkill River when I was eight.
I am not eight anymore and the pull of everything no longer feels young.
The world flies stiff and flutters in heartache and orange.
Last night my friend Lisa had her son, Tobias.
When Thad, his father, cried to me on the phone
his break down was as small as the world should be
in the ocean that is.
Yesterday Ishmael was one hundred and fifty years old
and in some places in New York it will take you four hours to walk half a block.
That’s important to know when I sit down with my bowl of oats
and let myself listen to the milk.
I listen like I did when I was eight, jumping the Wallkill River,
to small stones and green moss
while the upstate wind got the best of me.
Today I hear the ocean when I stick my ear into the Pelligrino bottle.
I hear Ishmael and his locomotive voice trounced out by an exploding whale fin
slapping at the sea.
Once, he said, I quietly took to the ship. But there is quiet no more.
And I wonder if all these island cities will burn the way autumn leaves do
then turn into small particles that rise to the sky and freeze into ice.
But mostly I wonder if Toby will turn into a man who travels to Houston
the way he traveled out of his mom
the way his father said,
When he was born it was perfect, all those moving parts,
how could something not go wrong and then not.
And then I wonder if Toby will jump the Black Creek in blue sneakers when he is eight
then tell his dad that a fish and an astronaut are the same thing.
Time comes inside itself and shadows the earth with children.
We travel with them, we have to,
the way everything is an ocean, a piano of oceans,
a key to melody and the sound of two voices beating forward into wind.
That’s what I hear when I stick my head into the Pelligrino bottle and hear the ocean–
Ishmael under his waves and Tobias screaming Hot dog, into his.
from Spinning Jenny #6