Sunday, February 23, 2020

The Climate by Annelyse Gelman

The Climate

It was like watching a wave approach
from a great distance, so great

that at first it is not a wave at all, but
a mere horizon, static and singular,

so that one, it being possible, presumably,
to avail oneself of the diversions

of the beach, might turn one’s back
on the ocean altogether, might turn instead

to the sand, heaped and tunnelled,
the sunscreened hand that fumbles

for a book, indeed, the book,
the sentence, the syntax, the sun

blanching the page, stained, perhaps,
with sweat, the creamy pleasure

of not-laboring, when one would otherwise
labor, the pleasure of wasting

oneself, of decadent uselessness,
though one might, of course, always alarm

to some emergency, a child caught
in the undertow, say, who must be

dragged to shore and breathed into
like an empty balloon, an empty balloon

on which everything depends, might,
bent over the small body, waiting for it

to rise, to float, casting a shadow
the size of oneself, not even see,

though one was, of course, warned
it would come, and soon, the shadow

of that wave, like a new sky, already
overhead and even now descending.

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