by Barbara A Meier
I came to dig through the wrack.
The blades are the experiences.
The stipes are life.
I came to see what was salvageable
and how many pneumatocysts are intact.
I grip the shaft of my shovel, tense my muscles
and scoop anticipating.
This is the life I live for:
the wrack and not the sand.
Pieces of vegetation, not the ocean.
The seaweed flies swarm upward toward my face,
disturbed in their feeding, attracted by the rotten smell of kelp.
Their maggots gorge on gelatinous fiber eating away at membranes
of memories stored in gas-filled bladders.
I spread the kelp on the dry sand shelf, nudging it,
But the shovel is not enough–
My hands need to feel
The putrescence of life.
it coats my hands
as the flies invade the nose,
the mouth, the ears.
It makes a bed when spread to sea,
a mattress to bear my weight
green strands grow from my sides
Medusa hair of kelp.
It’s hard to see where my life
begins or ends on the high tide line.
The ocean nips at my ankles.
Between the wrack and rock
below, above the wave
the harvest continues.
The sand, the kelp, the shovel
Begin again in a Book of Death
where my name is written.
inspired by “Diving Into The Wreck” by Adrienne Rich
Process notes: Southwestern College, Winfield, KS, 1979. Mrs. AD Cope, one of my college professors, introduced me to Adrienne Rich. She became my favorite. 30 years later I picked up my pen and decided to write poetry again. At loss for where to start, I decided to use “Diving Into the Wreck” as my model. The subject matter- divorce and being alone.
Barbara A Meier has spent the last four years living on the Southern Oregon Coast. She retired from teaching this summer and hopes to find time to travel and write. She has a Micro Chapbook coming out this summer from Ghost City Press. She has been published in The Poeming Pigeon, TD; LR Catching Fire Anthology and The Fourth River. https://basicallybarbmeier.wordpress.com/