Islands breathe themselves through the water as if they are plants and the waves a season, as if all they need is plenty of lava to control their industry. Like careful ingredients in a long imagined
tragedy, they invent their own excess, raise their children to bob and batter against the dented
shorelines. I know the petrified trees, the agony of seconds when the wind changes, leaving only teeth to remember your lips by. I brought this to the
orchestra because I hoped to sing lead, but first I had to find a sort of atmospheric sorrow buried in the rushes, left hanging on the hanging lines. I hoped to keep my own society in the company of those men who refuse to be evacuated because they believe in a fate so complete it needs them to stay and feed the animals others leave behind, hushed in the sudden wild of terrible statuary a disaster soon becomes. Along with the sky, all my life I have been arriving too late, empty handed as the waves that wash away, stashing their own ghosts in the sound foam makes, one hundred tiny mouths opening yet speechless and then those terrible, quiet echoes.
16 The Paris-American
Christopher DeWeese is the author of The Black Forest (Octopus Books, 2012). His poems have appeared in Boston Review, jubilat, and Tin House. He teaches at Smith College.