Haines Eason

Pacific Starfish


On the middle day we saw them,
As if we had to be evenly distant
From everything made by man—
Both approaching and leaving known
Worlds. Purple, blue, yellow
By the uncounted gross across a tide
So low it shivered, bruised by coastal rocks.
A day, a night, half a day more and there
We found ourselves, racing the rising waves
Around a headland crag, rough sky
Heavy as the gear lashed to our backs,
Its weight with us gouging holes
Across the slate sands. Until stillness.
And in the muffled, moving gray above,
A wing beat slight in turning, ravens' calls
Muted, a sound of feathers turning
Down the cliffs.
It was then we found ourselves, resting,
Surrounded by a concentration of them,
All fingers, clinging, climbing to nowhere
As kelp would, if it might, deathly
In their stony dreams, sure, secure even,
And it made no sense, our joy
At such unexpected colors—violet, turquoise,
Amber—at such immutable light that hung,
Pure and unknowing and unchanged.

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