Erin Belieu

Two Weeks On The Island

You're angry that I can't love the ocean, but

I came to the world land-locked and some bodies
are permanently strange. Like languages,
if you study them too late, they'll never stick.

Anyway, we're here, aren't we?—
trudging up the sand, the water churning
its constant horny noise, an open-mouthed heavy

breathing made more unnerving
by the presence of all these families, the toddlers

with their chapped bottoms, the fathers
in gigantic trunks spreading out their dopey
circus-colored gear.

How can anyone relax
near something so worked up all the time?

I know the ocean is glamorous,
but the hypnosis, the dilated narcotic pull of it,
feels impossible to resist. And what better

reason to resist? I'm most comfortable in a field,
a yellow-eared patch of cereal, whose quiet

rustling argues only for the underrated
valor of discretion. And above this, I admire
a certain quality of sky, like an older woman

who wears her jewels with an air of distance, that is
lightly, with the right attitude.

Unlike the ocean, there's nothing sneaky about
a field. I like its ugly-girl frankness. I like that,
sitting in the dirt, I can hear what's moving

between the stalks.




© 2003 Electronic Poetry Review