Gift 2 by J. Neil Garcia

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Lost in the sea’s
unforgiving blue,
I seek you.
Before me
the day unscrolls
its naked scripture:
sun, vision’s burning field,
islands, faint presences
crumbling in the distance,
water, the fickle immensities
life is made
constant by.
And it strikes me
I love the sea
because it borders
this suffering world
and the next:
the soul, it is said,
travels in a boat
from a winding inland river,
homing clear-eyed
toward the ocean–
which is the bottomless
beyond.
And I know:
here, upon this beach,
wash the crushed remains
of what was once mortal:
bone and kelp,
driftwood and tentacle,
porous red coral–
keepsakes
life leaves behind
before
dissolving
back to brine.
I am home here, then,
whom the world
never loved,
and from its torn edges
I can almost see
it all end:
an onrushing tide,
a radiant sea-swell
sweeping away all appearance,
gentle eddies
whittling the self
till it is no longer
even sand.
I think of you
landlocked and lost
in another element–
your body.
The sea teaches me
love is a wish
not for safety
but for destruction.
I am not ashamed
to admit it:
I love you
the way water loves.
Which is to say
I wish the world
were through with you,
so you could return to me
ravaged, upon this shore:
a shell
held tight
inside my palm.

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