Poem for Jem

Swimming out to sea

dear Jem never failed to surprise us

Act 1, Scene 1 is unique each time before our middle-aged star
lacerates the lid of the Pacific. Could Eos be the one true God?
Could her lure of quiet light abate prescriptions for anxiety.

Technics enhances capacities and capabilities but weakens,
impossible to extricate – dawn needs no screen or mechanic,
each day begins with the body sounding breath like a poem.

Hear the birds? Their song is liturgical. The fiery eye that feeds
Earth oils cloud with bodybuilding definition, lifts from the singed
wire of the horizon and stretches, reluctant to let go.

Listen, as if for a key in the door, to birds opening the morning, or
grind away head-down to work recycling stale language. Silhouettes
carrying boards walk into the sea of unknowing. They vanish in the breakers.

We dive into the agile river, stroke counter to the fluent current,
hold then bail position and lie back spinning on the ebbing tide
beneath a seamless roof, French polished, concealing miasma.

How long can you hold your breath? Water scribbles marginalia on skin,
refreshing and filthy rich in each engagement, and Miilba is mischievous,
her mobile mouth constantly mutating thy way she kisses the sea.

For surfers it’s the start of adventure, beginning to make sense
as I reach the mouth and dive beneath the waves, body torqued,
the rips hard to read except at low tide when Whiting run the gutters.

A heart attack felled a man, my age, swimming here, then a youngster
tumbled off his kayak and vanished. I heard the chopper, wondered why.
Death happens hourly but tears freeze like snowflakes.

. . . can’t imagine your heartache. Consolation is the soundtrack
to an arbitrary album of snapshot memories – telos is an improvised end
to being here inside this existence, all the richer for Jem’s story.

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