Bio Note: March marks the two year anniversary of the mid-pandemic release of In the Muddle of the Night by Betsy Mars and me, and published—we are so grateful—by the excellent Arroyo Seco Press. To mark the occasion, and the book's continued availability on Amazon, here's still another downbeat poem of mine from the book. Betsy's poems are better and always much more delightful to read.
That pinging from the bottom of the sea comes from a sailor gnashing his teeth on the mast and rattling his spoon on the rusted iron fittings of the gunwales. I hear it when I submerge in sleep — though it’s cold and wet down there and feels like a slap across the face. But most times the thought of you — far away, unreachable — keeps me pinned to the here and now — and not in reverie, no matter how haunted — the tossing of the sheets in waves—furrows and swells — bind me to life as I know it too well, where it’s only the sound of the kitchen humming, the appliances heating up our world full into night. Know this is not where I’d choose to remain, as if choice could apply to any tale of man versus the sea, or seeing a light so bright and strange and other false reports, thank god, of another life after this. My teeth will turn to mush in the brackish water, then I’m stuck for the night, hardly able to move my feet in the silt and loam down at the bottom of my bed, the tools I’ve brought useless as a spoon underwater.
Originally published in Sheila-Na-Gig Online and appears in In the Muddle of the Night
©2023 Alan Walowitz
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