ekphrastic poem based on Peter Foucault's "Embryo"
here is the spark of an island among hundreds on a map.
zoom in and admire the shape of things, the way her body sways and spatters
whether or not you can see her doesn't matter. you will smell her sulfurous skin before anything. she's on the move.
here is the contour of paradise you want to capture, but she is swift and leaves
your graphite tips in the dust
you may think she's a newcomer, but she has been here a long time.
titanium, koa, abalone, salt water rising
rinsing through her blood
she runs the lava at midnight, her braided hair flowing for miles
and unwinding only when she reaches the sea
Yes, it has been years. and she wants to know
why you never bother to say hello, or ask to come in, or take off your shoes before entering.
why do you fix your gaze on her without offering her a song?
or take selfies and then realize your boot souls are melting.
she wants you to look beyond. will you?
see the spattering on the golf courses, on the manmade beach.
her veins are hard to see.
do you know what "chicken skin" means?
ask the locals. they will tell you. erase, erase the lines.
embryo, she is. you have very little control. she will whisper
in your ear that you both sadden and amuse her, and if you're lucky
she will let you go.
Originally published in More Good Talk: Poems from the Poets Laureate of Santa Clara County, July 2017.