Poem Notes


Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia

You need to empty it all out,
     allow more space to intercede
          on your behalf in everything,
     between you and everything,

the golden wall of it,
     the wave and heave of it.
          You need not to let it mount
     and crest and crush, instead to let

it wash and tilt your words away:
     shells staccato all along the crescent shore
          when the world is lit with tide and anyone
     could see through it to what’s beyond

or underneath or nested just inside of it,
     recursive. And when the tide is at its lowest point
          in this place where the tide has its greatest differential,
     (sixty feet some days and more than that

if you ask and are polite)
     you can walk out in it,
          the exposed bay, a couple miles or more, rivulets
     from tide pools slowly emptying.

And you should get more empty too.
     Use more parentheses
          with nothing much between.
     They will become portholes, gaps

through which we might let the world seep out,
     or in, the bright shifting
          so much so you become unsettled,
     lose perspective, start to say it is too much.

I don’t want to seize you,
     tear you up with silence, with science, and say is it cliché to ask
          if something’s changed?
     Maybe it is all the same—

vanishing, a dress, a rustle in the woods,
     wrestlers seeming to inflict pain
          on TBS—but more obviously exposed.
     I want to say it, make it so.

But all I hear is shrieks
     in wind, the creepy Doppler of the ice cream truck’s
          progress down now-abandoned streets.
And fireworks dismantling the sky.