725 Readings

Last Poem of My 55th Year

Last Poem of My 55th Year


I was thinking of how a whale’s white ribs
as a tunnel of staves gnawed clean by the sun

and offered to the sandy wind, symbolized something–
the largest reach of mammalian largesse

in a chapel of calcium phosphate, a housing
for a mammoth heart that suffered a sea-change?


You enlarged my heart, like a surgeon,
cracked my sternum and blew blue sky

into my ribs, whispering the ocean’s white gossip
through stony arches so that the sea’s rhythms

afflict me by ever-changing alarms, announcing what?
That I belong to you? That you changed me?


How can one ever belong to another,
how can we graft our souls’ limbs together,

what is the fruit of that tree? What Eve left,
whatever rind or seed survives our sorrows?

Or is love more deep and durable for having suffered
unattended moments to their harshest conclusions?


In the bird’s throat is a note not to be sung
until the calling of all things become themselves

like sea foam lightly blown over the high tide line
in a gesture of weightlessness and fertility.

By anamnesis you called me to myself
through green and silver, your eyes and hair.

Posted 12/19/09
A follow-up piece, a decade later. The first ("Last Poem of MY 45th Year") is the concluding poem in my new collection, "Unexpected Light." http://www.cechaffin.com/light.html
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