Patiently Waiting Inside an Imaginary Surface
First he falls out of his life into deeper water and then that ocean calms him,
something that big and steady always there, always breathing in a slow show of
persistence. His bearded goat wanders freely, like him, a creature of simple hungers.
His shack whistles softly in the wind.
On the beach the sailors grow tails from dreaming too often of mermaids. Their
wives in distant homes sit on Victorian chairs, perched like weathered statues in front of
row upon row of angular doors intricately carved with boars and gargoyles. Seashells
pave the unused path before them.
What is he saving himself from? His other world tears fear out by its roots, then
feeds it back to him, a self-sustaining disengagement. Inside, there’s a white shadow,
with its long liquid mouth and its body flowing into it, a birth the species knew as a
departure and the man did not.
On the beach a capsized whale begins bloating, under a canopy sky that said his
life was small and wrong, a sky that said home and then changed it. The wind’s
calligrapher signs and signs the shoreline’s smoothed bedding with no impatience at the
He carries a rusted knife that used to be the dictator of a Latin American country.
He thinks of his love as an abstraction that once saw him as a man so intelligent he could
forget everything he knew. His hunger grew. That’s how the owls found him, drunk on
filaments, chasing prisons. As if there were a secret curse in a woman’s body where his
His past continues bloating. It soaks up the ocean. Like someone you’ve just met
who carries away your desires, another white shadow passing across the thoughts of the
child you never got to be.
He is not what he seems to be, a new desire for the not quite touched. He has gone
inside himself like a bucket dropped into the sky, and he has found there a woman and
the drowning soul of a sailor. As if placing himself inside could penetrate the illusion.
Rich Ives is the author of Tunneling to the Moon: A Psychological Gardener’s Book of Days currently being published in serial @ Silenced Press everyday in 2014 and forthcoming in paperback. Begin from the beginning, catch up, read daily. Just refer to the Burrow Guide.