Only the Surface Breaks

By CALLY CONAN-DAVIES

 

Breaching beyond
the break wall, opening
the open sea like a long polished wound,
baffling the wind
with a force mustered from currents
where free is
two things—
unfathomable as the drowned book,
barnacled as if born and raised
between Aphrodite and the devil’s thumb

a whale heaves out a whale-tail
flaunting sunken love at the sunned earth

old whale, salt drunk, rolling like a swell
on the sea-surface, unsalvageable as a sheet of rain
bent like an anchor, bending like a wave

and when the sky sets pink on the hills
and we turn back to our coverings of light

what deep waters want
is a whale

the ur-face of the overwhelming
awful whale dark
water we all come down to

 

 

Cally Conan-Davies lives by the Southern Ocean on the island of Tasmania. Her poems have appeared in periodicals such as The Hudson Review, Subtropics, Poetry, Quadrant, The New Criterion, Virginia Quarterly Review, The Sewanee Review, Southwest Review, The Dark Horse, and Harvard Review, as well as a variety of online journals.

[Purchase Issue 17 here.]

Only the Surface Breaks

Related Posts

Image of book cover

Kazakhstani Poet Aigerim Tazhi in Translation

Aigerim Tazhi
A shaggy cactus in the window / catches on the drape. A stinging / spine in the hand. Along the wall. / Don't step into a moonbeam, / Don't tread on a house-elf / Or any other living thing. / In the newborn darkness / Pushing away dreams and shadows, / Sit on a sofa, keep still...

Graffitied diamond

A List of His Flaws

PETER MISHLER
Single-headed. / Flowering inwardly. / Barely felt in the birth canal... / Cupped like a handful of sea uncertainly held. / Carried fire to the human encampment. / Herod in boyhood. / An herbicide. / Given name known to the weapons inspectors. / Anchorite.

Cover of John Freeman's "The Park," a black and white photo of park benches and trees

April 2020 Poetry Feature: Poems from John Freeman’s THE PARK

JOHN FREEMAN
Every Sunday belfry bats of dread / flapped in the day’s corners— / I raised my head at 25, at 30, then 35, / as the sun arced down, always / wretched by the coming dark. / I assumed it was the awakening / singular to humans: / one day, that day would be the last.