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Sam Corfman

The Lake Suddenly, or an Ocean

  *Listen to Sam read this poem.


Here’s an ending, when before it ends we all go to the beach. Remind me why

that house was called a ziggurat, because it was dark? Jetsam floated through

the air. Stars were drugs. I stopped trying to come up with a color

for the water, closed my eyes every time I went under and pretended

I was on vacation from that vacation.




I’d fallen in love with something I left, moved

to a desert founded on the promise of an ocean and never night, broken

the first night that fell. I fled to the woods, to an oiled gravel and waves

again found me, moving in, moving out. I pretended to be calmed

but felt turbidity, looked instead up at what hid in the pallor

of that latest and longest summer.




Again and again my love was mocked, from the opposite sides

where they touted their smooth sounds and greater vowels, their connection

to another island. We have depth too, I said, opening my mouth

in the ripples, we have places where I make my own light.




Returning one more time from the salt mine to the oasis, I didn’t want

such sediment in the arms that held me. I’d still take the coded warning and stay

on the sand, wait for the ban to lift. Near the shore the water is warm enough

to sleep in. We stretch our arms and reach the length of a city. We walk only a mile.




One morning there was the lake suddenly, like an ocean. A different

morning there was the ocean. There were the angles, scattered

like skyscrapers along a running path. Sand or heat were in the way

of my skin, each a barrier to the connection of waters. I was a winding, a leap

from a rocky pier. I was one way of entering. A body of water was another.



Want more? Read our WHAT WHAT HOW interview with Sam!

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