Colin Cheney

Here Be Monsters

                                                                 Is it the sea we wish? The sleep of the changeless?
—Theodore Roethke


Me? I’m waiting for the cormorant to surface.
Fennel seed between my teeth & your salt in my beard
I watch the hurried rain become
overflow become canal become bay.


Yes, the cherry is blossoming behind the concertina
blades in the demolition yard.
That we live here is beautiful sometimes. 

I’ve seen the holes in the world 
where the rain sneaks through. I’ve read the glyphs
to the under-Gowanus world on corrugated
siding, ghost-thug portraits, a last species of oyster
translated into Mayan, into native aerosol.
And what, pray tell, am I waiting for?


Here the sea lifted up, here what we have awoken
into. You say the giant squid has an almost
vegetable soul carried senseless along whale roads.
Here a nor’easter & here a book of the dead.


Because mercury injected into the lymph
of cadavers revealed the other half
of the known world, we leave the house & eat sushi
on your birthday—eel, urchin & shrimp
split down their spine as though in search


of something. Our friend in the hospital waits
to be saved, for a net to trawl the nodes
of a deep we map in one held breath:
here the milky way shimmering & gasoline,
here the interspecies moment between hubcap
& horseshoe crab.


“Here Be Monsters” is from Here Be Monsters (University of Georgia Press, 2010).