Gains & Losses
Communications at Sea

From the distant beach,
he’s finally stopped shouting at me.
I hear only from strangers
who send messages in bottles:
        Hi, my name is Jimmy.
        I live in New Jersey.
I’ve floated in this ocean for years now.
Whenever I approach a shoreline,
I let the current sweep me out.
I eat raw fish and open my mouth
to the rain.   Ships never see me.
I sleep all day snuggled in weeds
of the Sargasso sea; at night I recite
whatever I like:
        Wordsworth’s Daffodils
        or The Gettysburg Address.
I keep hoping for a bottle with a pencil.
There’s a man I want to write to,
if he’s still alive.   I want to tell him:
        When I was with you, I was drowning.
        Now I feel safely embraced
        when the hurricane howls my name.


Photo Credit: US Geological Survey EROS Image Gallery

Copyright 2009,  Penelope Scambly Schott

Penelope Scambly Schott's newest collection, May the Generations Die in the Right Order (2007), includes poems about dying, living, loving, and the world.  She's also written a verse biography, A is for Anne: Mistress Hutchinson Disturbs the Commonwealth (2007); a documentary narrative poem, The Pest Maiden: A Story of Lobotomy (2004); and a collection titled Baiting the Void (2005), which won the Orphic Prize.

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