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The Sea (excerpt)

My mother floats across the floor of our kitchen and kisses me
on the forehead

My second memory



Smoking a cigarette

She’s alive

but she’s acting

like she’s


That watery light people get sometimes

when they’re first arriving

and when


leaving for good

The cigarette ash falling

into the sink


sounds like the sea

The foghorns

are spelling someone’s


Not your name

Maybe they used to

but not any-


It serves us right to be alive

We move out across the water in our stupid bodies and blow out the
breakers one by one


from our names

into some secret


from FliesFind it in the library

Copyright © 2011 Michael Dickman
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Copper Canyon Press.

Published in Michael Dickman Poems

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.