Poems of Place & Displacement


Sometimes Charlotte,
in dreams of storm, turns the boat toward forest,
drops sail and switches to the engine,
watching a roof of cloud lower over the sea.
Wood too wet to burn and rain anyhow
and all day.

Sometimes dreams of his hands,
slender tanned fingers opening the fish, gliding
into their bodies. At night into hers.
She becomes a fish, bright scales slick
in the wet parts of her body.
She dreams of the bird that eats it.

Dreams of searching the narrow cobble beach.
Seawrack and styrofoam weathered by surf;
entire trees rubbed smooth and white,
roots like spokes stuck down into gravel.
A company of gulls screeches a claim
over something dead beyond the curve of shore.

Sometimes can't face sleep. Often
the fence line, the ridge crest at midnight
with stars or with clouds and fireflies.
Town lights glittering too far away
swimming hard through rising wind.

Cliff House, San Francisco
Photo Credit:US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Copyright 2007,  C.R. Manley

C.R. Manley has recent poetry in Pontoon 9 and Windfall, and prose in the final issue of Paragraph. His writing has also appeared in Arnazella, Iris, Plainswoman, Riverrun, South Dakota Review, Bulletin of Volcanology, and other journals. He lives near Seattle with his wife and daughter.

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