Wednesday, August 15, 2018

#PoetryBreak: Crossings by Linda Hogan


Caribbean (Reilly, 2018)


Crossings
By Linda Hogan
 
There is a place at the center of earth
where one ocean dissolves inside the other
in a black and holy love;
It’s why the whales of one sea
know songs of the other,
why one thing becomes something else
and sand falls down the hourglass
into another time.
Once I saw a fetal whale
on a black of shining ice.
Not yet whale, it still wore the shadow
of a human face, and fingers that had grown before the taking
back and turning into fin.
It was a child from the curving world of water turned square,
cold, small.
Sometimes the longing in me
comes from when I remember
the terrain of crossed beginnings
when whales lived on land
and we stepped out of water
to enter our lives in air.
Sometimes it’s from the spilled cup of a child
who passed through all the elements
into the human fold,
but when I turned him over
I saw that he did not want to live
in air.  He’d barely lost
the trace of gill slits
and already he was a member of the clan of crossings.
Like tides of water,
he wanted to turn back.
I spoke across elements
as he was leaving
and told him, Go.
I was like the wild horses
that night when fog lifted.
They were swimming across the river.
Dark was that water,
darker still the horses,
and then they were gone.
From The Book of Medicines by Linda Hogan (Coffee House Press, 1993)

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