poems by Rena J. Mosteirin

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Monday, June 15, 2009


Clove-flavored taffy/ tastes like sweet-salt-smoke/ reminds me of the clove cigarettes
from Indonesia that Marisa offered around/ after everyone had left the backyard
on the night of our wedding/ when we were all drunk on the back porch.

A little boy running down the beach throws a rock/ at you/
reading Nietzsche/ on the blanket beside me./ He must not like Nietzsche, I say.
Emmanuel!/ That was bad! That was very, very bad!/ his mother screams
kicking sand in our sodas as she chases him down the beach.

The little boy running down the beach is not a ghost/ this time.
The little boy running down the beach is not my husband.
You are my husband/ reading/ feet burrowing into the sand/ as a schooner with two masts
floats by and early June is too early/ to swim the ocean in Maine.

Today we are beach flavors/ strawberry, orange and cream,
cotton candy, banana, clove,
key lime pie, garlic and ginger.

I want mouthfuls of ocean.
I want nosefuls of ocean.

Do mermaids eat lobsters?
Can the mermaids hear me singing?

Now we are back at the house on Brackett Street/ and I have all our shells and seaglass
and driftwood/ spread out on the back porch table/ and one big jar/ and the love of my life
is in the kitchen/ scraping barnacles off muscles with a butter knife.

This jar will keep the sea with us. On the table is the camera
with it’s one twist-close eye/ pointed straight up/ hawk-watching.

The cork from last night’s bottle/ 24 pieces of beach glass
a foot of clean, blonde driftwood/ 11 shells
3 rocks and a bag of sand/ the smell

of mussels in garlic comes steaming out of the kitchen
you come/ pick up the best one/ you say, this is the most beautiful rock I have ever seen.
Children ride by/ ringing the bells on their bicycles.

I suck the barnacle cuts on your fingers/the trees in the backyard clap their millions
of leaves/ you put on a record/ the white album/ and sand sails off the porch
onto the green lawn, kept summer-people perfect/ “Only one refused to open!”

You yell./ Wonderful./ These old barnacled-up mussels still have something in them:
the ocean music/ what it refuses
and the tree music of oxygen making.

The mussels are full of pearls.
I swallow them/ thinking they are rocks.
I am too in love with you to care.


DS said...

hmmmm i feel like im on a house by the ocean, watching the mermaids and the lobsters, watching them make salty pearl necklaces that they give to each other

diana jih said...

I'm choking on the beauty invoked by this poem and your life or its strangling me with pearls! <3