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Dear ocean, I am writing you

in response to your last question


——–made mostly of erasures.

——–I want to say in the language


of erasure, I do not know

where voices go when they die,


——–how I was born to misread

——–a note of yearning in your give


and take and the land pulled back

in the clash. The other day


——–I read an email from a stranger

——–who hopes I will find my spirit


in hers, her essay on transcendent

earth and things that will not die.


——-If you have read it, help me, please.

——-I am lost. I am, as such, sending


a note of thanks to my stranger

over the cold expanse of you,


——–over the here and there of water

——–that speaks, always, of its own


form, given, taken, erased.

From one ocean to another,


——–tell me, what is this redemption

——–uttered in collective urgings


where people forget what has been

called back and, in prayer, forgiven.


——-You and I know forgiveness

——-was never about forgetting.


I grew up in an ocean of voices,

a leviathan space that chanted


——–on earth as it is in heaven,

——–and there was flint in the earth


where it struck the great hereafter.

A cradle on fire with stars and music.


——-When I think of transcendence,

——-I think of my mother with her box


collection, the diminutive click

of a world finding its place


——-in the world. In the ocean.

——-I think of all I could not do


to save her, to answer to the tired

summons of I hurt that broke


——-down into incoherent pieces,

——-returned, embittered, to where they came from.


Madness is no ocean, no box,

but the anima of one that grows


——-ever larger in the other.

——-Take this nightmare where it opens


on an empty room at night,

the windy motions of the lids


——-in prayer. Forgive me, I say,

——-without knowing who it is


I talk to when I talk alone.

What I do know is this. The forms


——-of appeasement remain long after

——-the pretext of a fall. Once


I fell. And my mother said, I’m sorry.

And what I heard was the lonely


——-back and forth of you, dear

——-ocean, the hush and reassurance


this emptiness and us will come

to terms. There is another earth.


——-It is an ocean in a box

——-whose waves wash over us like hands.


There is an earth that cannot die,

says the earth that does, and strangers


——-whose letters to the world cross

——-over the impersonal deep.


Forgive me, I say, transcending.

And you, my destination. Forgive.

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