This evening I’ll be doing something I’ve not done in maybe 15 years: reading a poem of mine in public. The poetry reading at the Silent Beaches exhibition is co-sponsored by Underwater New York, a digital poetry journal and collective. On the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy’s landfall, we’ll be reading poetry about maritime New York.
My contribution is about a doll’s leg found at Dead Horse Beach. It’s titled
“Asymmetrical Kicking,” and written in the voice of the leg during its Jamaica Bay odyssey: from beach to sea to beach again.
I knew she’d miss me.
Points of fingers digging slightly,
Varying pressure across my unfeeling thigh,
Holding whatever was around us.
Touch binds emotion to dead things.
It skates along filaments to sinews,
Plastic to skin to salt.
She brought me to the beach, into the surf, out here:
That was her mistake.
Beneath the surface flows another world.
Sideways I kick inside it,
Lashing out, I move
No longer attached to body or world or girl,
I swim alone.
The salt burns and trickles inside me,
Filling me up.
A dark motion holds me for a long time.
Returning is another leaving.
Never stepping twice onto the same sand,
Out of the same salt water, alongside the same
Air feels empty after so much water.
Now when I kick nothing moves.