Source: Poetry November 1972
I know a little what it is like, once here at high tide
Stranded, for them to be so attached to the bottom’s
Sarcophagus lids, up to their brown green gold wine
Bottle necks in the prevailing booze, riding, as far
As we can see, like a picnic on a blanket.
Whatever plucks them from below the red horizon
Like snapped pulleys and ropes for the pyramidal effort
Of the moon, they come in, they come through the breakers,
Heaps of hair, writing across the beach a collapsed
Script, signers of a huge independence.
Melville thought them pure, bitter, seeing the fog-sized
Flies dancing stiff and renaissance above. But I
Have eaten nori and dulse, and to have gone deep
Before being cast out leaves hardly a taste of loneliness.
And I take in their iodine.
Sandra McPherson, “Seaweeds” from Radiation (New York: The Ecco Press, 1973). Copyright © 1973 by Sandra McPherson. Reprinted with the permission of the author.