091514 ocean dream


on a whim at the water’s edge where
the waves lapped the beach,
she told me she knew how to swim
“the water’s warm,” she said,
so i stripped down on a dare and
jumped in, after, only to ignore
the numb and freeze of bone and
inhale the brine of a life
no longer empty or alone
too cold to think

fantastic in the sheets, spacious
birth and functional head
split open wide, we climbed
deep inside, drawing feed
from galley mess, no protest
to hide a thing, every thought
a part in queue to confess
so i wanted to believe…
we built our ship
broke bottle against bow
left land and other loves behind
made our way out past the breakers
to move through life like one
while we watched
the world around us die.

in the midst of our journey
i found she lied like a stranger
escaping persecution, struggling
to me, about on deck, and deep inside…
the only chart she knew to read
a map she drew to replace the territory
i watched us worried, drift away
captive of her expectant gaze
toward a horizon of dreams
i believed she could navigate.

when the western winds came
and begged us set course
against the drift, unfurl the mains
the task fell to me, by age
unwisened i failed miserably
still i wanted to believe…
feeling lost but not alone
we lived and loved inside
a first mate’s fantasy, floating
for a while, we watched
the world inside us die, we fought
and held the angry water
demons at bay, on the border
of an impending storm
in an iron-clad bubble
’til it burst swiftly
tore through our embrace
and left us naked, drowning

i thought i heard her calling
in the same moment i watched
the malformed cabin disintegrate
wash and melt into the sea
like a memory, i recalled she told me
she knew how to swim, feel complete
to divine the winds, tell routes
from stars, spot land beyond the horizon
she held in her hand like sand falling from
the hourglass she wore, without seeing
the depth of meaning it bore, she said
she knew north from mars, she could feel
conveyors from currents, find the way
beneath her compass tattoo’d feet
and she wanted more…
i saw her from that moment on,

instead, i resurfaced in shock and
crawled my lonely way to shore
eyes open
stinging from the salt
i looked behind for some sign
of her, an effort, a struggle
a ripple on the surface
smooth as silk, with a peaceful sheen
she disappeared into the blue
like a mirage, always running
leaving me stranded
on the firm ground
of an alien island
and unfamiliar surrounds
leading tattered rags into
a future
ripped in two

through the seasons,
sun and winds of time
as i gaze back toward the same horizon
with salt-crusted eyes
on a distant ocean dream
beyond the moon’s pull of tides
i wonder lazily whether i lost myself
somewhere out there in her fantasy
and in mine.


2 Responses to 091514 ocean dream

  1. Julie Buhite says:

    Wow. Chill bumps. Very sad, but it also brings up a mixture of emotions. I think it really speaks for how we can get lost in another and be convicted that they will help navigate our way for us and save us. The end, for me, evokes a sense of loss and a bit of hopelessness, but then compels me to do an about-face and be hopeful and determined. A really lovely and emotion-provoking poem.

  2. ozob says:

    thank you so much for reading and your thoughtful comments!

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