I’m a cataloging librarian in an Ohio public library, which is a job I love. The first poem I remember writing was one about dirty dishes that won a contest in fourth grade. If I’m not reading or writing, I might be found dangerously close to breaking out Zumba moves in public places (my husband and daughter would be delighted rather than embarrassed if I actually did).
It seems unlikely you could drive
from Ohio—impossibly full of land, wave-silent—
to the ocean
but you can; I’ve watched
roads connecting and connecting
like joining hands
until one road is small enough
to join you to the salt and vastness.
Sunglasses misting over
wind catching a gull’s wing
Seafoam and shore birds tumbleweeding
A place where you can’t stop looking
because maybe you could see eternity
or the size of God.
Nothing is ending from where I stand
and I’m dizzy with the slipping-away water.
My husband starts talking
about waves and parabolas, gravity.
“It’s beautiful,” I say,
not completely sure if I mean the ocean
or the mathematics of it.
I vaguely understand
that the tide is a known thing:
timed and measured, charted.
the waves themselves
are unruly and full of secrets.
I imagine being out deep
frothy fingers pulling me
through the secrets
where I swim without fear, need of rest
or even a breath.
Falling Down Storm Drains and Other Fears
I doubt the moth wings
would do me any harm
if they chose to flutter.
They are still now,
A mute wisp of pale brown on the door.
Even a savage beating
from such an inconsequential visitor
would leave me only flustered at worst.
Yet I approach with trepidation and swearing,
as one sneaking up on a foe
much more formidable
than this quiet, unmoving thing.
I begin cup and book maneuvers
(remainders making killing distasteful),
slide cup toward book—poised at door’s edge—
release my captive outdoors
to discover he’s already dead.
On walks through the neighborhood
when my daughter was younger
she asked what would happen
if she fell down the storm drain.
I looked at dark, open space
and saw her fear.
Looked at the narrowness of the opening
and proclaimed it safe.
But who am I to make such proclamations?
There are reasons to be afraid.
They alight on moth wing,
a swirl of possible,
landing too abruptly for comfort.
© 2018 Lara Phelps
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