Featured Poem II • March 2016
Love, and the Merciless Sea
Think of me, when the freshening breeze off the northern sea catches you in the face and creeps around your collar. Think of my fingers caressing the soft place below your jaw, my salt-stained lips tracing the blood that flows beneath the skin. How I enjoyed the sin in your smile, when we languished on summer’s shore, even knowing the signs that marked transgression’s end. Autumn brought with it a thousand flocks of geese winging south, a thousand herds thundering to winter’s home. And we lay entwined, with golden grasses bending over us, lazy hum of bees fading to a sigh before gales rampaged into the village. You bade me goodbye before ice sealed the harbor, before the last of the dried berries fell from red-stained stems, and as I sank beneath the waves, I saw you had already turned your face back to the human world. Yet I know, even if you haven’t yet realized— No mortal girl can walk my sea-foam path, nor forgive the shadows I have left in your eyes.
Jennifer Crow’s book of mythology and folklore poetry, The First Bite of the Apple, was a finalist for the Suzette Haden Elgin Award. She lives with her family near a waterfall in western New York.
About her poem “Love, and the Merciless Sea,” she wrote, “It’s not always possible to pinpoint the exact inspiration for a poem, but in this case I have a couple people to thank. Claire Cooney, who often posts interesting artwork and links on her Facebook page, found one painting that made me think, ‘Oh, a sea witch!’ So Claire gave the witch a face, and William Connors shared pictures and videos from his village on the Yukon River near the Bering Sea, which gave her a place, and the rest flowed from that. I’m just lucky to know such interesting people.”
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