And the sea is shaking, 1999

Is this how the ocean feels

at night, when the waves

move through her, when they pound

against the shore? The moon

so far away; its light is

silver-bright but cold, and the wind

sings shivering down from the ice,

from the place where the water

lies trapped, held still in the cold

(underneath it is shaking,

underneath it is aching). So

lonely, such broad and empty

places where only tiny fish

shiver, slipping under the ocean’s

skin, where a gull sweeping down

will only remind her how empty

is the still blackness of night,

of sky. The sailors are all away,

at home, asleep in the arms of patient,

frightened wives, rocked safe and

held tight against the day, against

the moment when they slide out

of those arms, that bed, that warm

house, slip down to the water’s edge

where the boats are waiting,

waiting for the clear grey edge of

dawn, when they will go dancing

along the sea-skin, singing faithless

love songs for her during the brief

so brief



M.A. Mohanraj

May 22, 1999