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About this Poem 

"I was staying on a beloved part of the Northern California coast intending to write, but all I kept doing was taking thirty second videos of the sea. It seemed like such an absurd activity (the sea was right there!), but I was compelled. On the page I'd been troubling our environmental future; perhaps the videos were little stays against the End.” 

—Dana Levin

Watching the Sea Go

              Thirty seconds of yellow lichen.

Thirty seconds of coil and surge,
            fern and froth, thirty seconds
                         of salt, rock, fog, spray.

                                                               Clouds
moving slowly to the left―

            A door in a rock through which you could see

                                      ―

another rock,
                       laved by the weedy tide.

            Like filming breathing―thirty seconds

of tidal drag, fingering
             the smaller stones
                          down the black beach―what color

             was that, aquamarine?
Starfish spread

                         their salmon-colored hands.

                                     ―

            I stood and I shot them.

I stood and I watched them
            right after I shot them: thirty seconds of smashed sea
                         while the real sea

                            thrashed and heaved―

           They were the most boring movies ever made.
I wanted

                       to mount them together and press play.

                                     ―

           Thirty seconds of waves colliding.

Kelp

           with its open attitudes, seals
                        riding the swells, curved in a row

                        just under the water―

                                    the sea,
            over and over.
                                    Before it’s over.
 

Copyright @ 2014 by Dana Levin. Used with permission of the author.

Copyright @ 2014 by Dana Levin. Used with permission of the author.

Dana Levin

Dana Levin

Dana Levin is the author of Banana Palace (Copper Canyon Press, 2016) and Sky Burial (Copper Canyon Press, 2011), among other books. She lives in St. Louis, Missouri.

by this poet

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I say most sincerely and desperately, HAPPY NEW YEAR! 

Having rowed a little farther away from the cliff

Which is my kind of religion

Adrift in the darkness but readying oars

How can there be too many stars and hands, I ask you

                               —

I would be disingenuous if I said "being
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Six monarch butterfly cocoons
      clinging to the back of your throat—

      you could feel their gold wings trembling.

You were alarmed. You felt infested.
In the downstairs bathroom of the family home,
      gagging to spit them out—
            and a voice saying Don’t, don’t—
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You don't have to break it. Just give it a little 
tap.

tap tap. See,

there's the crack. And if you pry it a little
         with the flat end of that spoon,

you'll be able to slip yourself through.


                               —


To the woods where you're walking. Crushed ice above you
2