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Poetry Project Four

Watch this page for more of my poems on "Watching Half-Dome from Yosemite Valley" from this book! These poems and photos are copyright protected. Please remember to email me for permission to use them.

by Judith Cody

It is Monterey Bay
stuck out
curled around the edge
of the Pacific Ocean.

Air clear as diamond
cold, windless,
becalms me.

I burrow into the warm sand.

A crab or shrike
will surely pass me by.

The foam passes over my ankles.

Birds call to one another,
sand grass bends.

The surf passes over my knees.

Steady thrills of great water
pound through my skin.

Only a Pacific wind
can be as sudden,
there is no time
to cover eyes,
sand blasts into hair
skin folds, tongue
is grit covered,
my sand crater is flooded
by a cold sucking pool.

He gurgles and gasps
clutches his throat
all the while he stares at me
through lashless, golden eyes.
A wet, tangled heap,
he sprawls where the wave
has washed him ashore
close beside me on the sand,
wads of kelp wind through his legs.

Sea Male
crippled by water weeds
helpless, heaved up on the beach.

I had never dreamed
the Sea Male's skin
would gleam
like a deep copper mirror
(his thighs are warm fleshed).

I had never dreamed
that I would be lying
face to startled face
(his ears are merely soft dimples)
with this alien male.

The surf passes over my mouth.
(And his mouth).

I choke
yet he relaxes
inhales the salty water
inhales it deeply
with gentle satisfaction.

Sunlight shimmers over the copper skin
like on a moving mirrored surface
as he picks away the soggy weeds
then arranges himself
(as polite as a Prime Minister)
not even kelp covers him now.

Wind begins to hum
over the wide bay, over Monterey
over Santa Cruz,
over my ear tips.
The surf laps against my belly.

Sea Male smiles,
slowly dips his head into water
for every breath
(his breathing is meditation, like the whale's).

From his navel to his groin
the deep vertical Treasure Slit
is sealed.

"Reach in," he beckons to me
"Reach in..." his fingers force his belly wide apart,
"Your hand will fit—
it is designed for this—
Reach in...probe...take what you feel."

Air is wet and windy,
surly water
growls against us.

The water thuds against my back.

like the wind
he hums "yes...yes...I am come
from another side of today."

Like the wind
his words sting my ears,
"yes...I am come from yesterday."

Like the surf
his words pulse,
yes...reach in...feel the future...
yes...yes...reach in me.
I reach,
touch flesh
and I falter.
" me...touch future."

The ocean swells to my chin.

Like the shell,
his warm chamber
twists and curves
where I explore,
feel his prize,
palm slips beneath it,
sinews tighten,
fingers curl,
wrapped around
his one possession
my hand emerges
in my air.

"No...I've never seen"

The tide sucks at my toes.

Sun is splintered on the water
moon holds back the waves
Sea Male stares in horror,
his ocean moves away,

Like the tide
his voice
is ebbing,

Like the moon
his voice
is pale,
"no...give me...come to the sea...
come to the it to me... with me."

Can I reach inside again?
No. No. He is dull and parched
his belly sealed forever

The ocean slaps the sand far away.

Sea Male
crawls along the sand,
reaches water,
"O...give it back...come with me."

The Pacific arcs and takes him.

Yes I will. I will.

The ocean heaves like hatred.

Like the gull's
my voice
is little
in this place.