The Morning Wave


This morning the sea is bloodless green, grid-spread square by square.
A wave heaves itself from the plane
and stands like a row of corn in the mist after a night of rain,
and the sun lights it, and the water glows green like colored glass.
A pelican brushes the wave’s white cap with its wing, searching the face, and —
All’s suspended,
waiting for the wave to fall.
The wave keeps its shape unbroken and poises shining as an eel or a fish whose scales
catch the sunlight from an underwater place.
And I feel that this wave (with the pelican’s wing grazing the white cap)
holds whole histories —
the clocking of the tectonic plates,
a thousand Ice Ages,
the fossil swirl of dust over dust,
And that fastened in the webbing of its intolerable wavering it sees
so many futures unfamiliar to us, including one morning when the world wakes
to find us not in it.
On that morning nothing, nothing will have changed.
Nothing — it might be said — will have hardly happened.

The wave breaks,
the pelican veers and rises out of the wreckage at the right time,
the spume sweeps up the sand and bathes my feet in its lustral wash.
The baptism abrades me fin, fish, and bone.