Saturday, November 27, 2010

Poems by KT McVeigh

The Sea

I’m sitting on the beach
With my legs out in front of me, bent at the knees
And my hands propping me up on the damp sand
And the red sun will never set
It’s stamped into the sky
The waves beat against each other
They are capped with white
Their friction is a furious motion
But they just fall into each other
They just sink and become one
They are the way things are
They are the way it is
They are not beautiful
They are charming
They have an abysmal charm
Like a long finger bending into itself
I watch you, waves
The shore is round and black
The sea goes on forever
Forever is the sea
I am a dot on the edge of the sea 

*        *        * 

I am in our room
With the thin velvet blanket
Which was a sort of pea green
And there were seagull decals on the sliding glass door
And there were shells we collected in the ashtray on the porch
And the floors were smooth, flat, white rock tiles bigger than my head at the time
And the porch was a box on the side of the building
And if you pressed your nose against the screen it went out of focus and you could see the ocean
But the camera could only do that once or twice
And those are the pictures I’ve misplaced that are burned into my memory
Of the blinding white sun with the orange and pink and purple and navy
And the black silhouette of the osprey in the nest at the top of the palm tree
The sun sliding down into the sea
How it looked like a runny egg
To me
But now that I’ve written this down
I’m going to forget it
Because I’ve somehow subconsciously given myself that permission
Up until now I’ve had to regularly summon back that memory
Those sensory details
And picture myself there
So I wouldn’t forget
So it would stay etched in my mind forever
That scene
Of sitting on that bed
And feeling those cool tiles beneath my little feet
And pushing back the curtains and….
That smell
When I push back the curtains, my nostrils flare and I deeply inhale the something that should be there
In my memory I can expect it
The sweet aroma of somewhere I haven’t been in years
But there’s nothing
That’s the saddest thing
The saddest thing of all is that I can’t remember the smell
Only when I smell it
Which I did recently
And I fell back against the wall and I felt like I couldn’t breathe
Because I don’t know what causes the smell
It’s unidentifiable with anything but that apartment
And when I smell it, there I am
I am in our room with the orange juice carton and the low chandelier above the round kitchen table
And the counter and the stove and the closet full of beach supplies
The umbrellas and the plastic molds of crabs and sandcastle molds and buckets and shovels and the boogie boards and the blow-up raft
And the blueberry muffins Dad used to bring home for breakfast
And the fridge and the bathroom with the light above the mirror and the TV in the middle of the room where we’d watch the Disney channel
And Mommy and Daddy’s room that was always dark and like a cave
And the carpet and the closet and the must and the shades
And the sound of our steps echoing down the hallways as we ran
And the smell of outside with the palm trees
And Uncle Bob’s
And the ice cream
And the red trolley
And the pointy #1 necklace Daddy hid under the rock for me
And the pirates and the other kids and the grass and the sun and the birds and the fishing poles and the smiles and the waves and the laughing, always laughing
And the thin velvet blanket on my bed
Which was a sort of pea green
But softer, sweeter
And comforting
And my bright runny egg, sliding down into the sea
And the smell of the curtains
Which is gone.
And if fate doesn’t happen to direct me to where it lingers
I might never know that smell again

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