Stuart Greenhouse

Cowrie Apostrophe

Let circumstance be breeze. At once:
shells rush, rub ocean, is it sure
or is it unsure? You are unsure
then sure. On shore, then are shore. Sink, shell,
not once as one but down to one ten thousand
thousand ones. Now you are thought
approaching thought. A thought that moves
like breeze, not surf—an end-slow
breeze near not. Once, inland,
where the breeze moves so, was ocean.
Once you think it through some
ten thousand thousand years, you’ll understand
that, not vague or me. Will that be memory,
as-if-remembering a moist body-in-body accreting
ideas once home, once heaven settled
to routine, you, set longer
than that body’s set of days, the shape which gave
you shape you gave shape to?
What are you now? What are you? At the edge
of permeant being, ages roll
your thought, you, down to its subsumed selves—
its heart is you, its trying
is what you think surety is: unsurely.



“Cowrie Apostrophe” originally appeared in Chelsea magazine, and then in What Remains, a chapbook published by the Poetry Society of America (2005).