Cove, Swells

Seaside birdcall: profiteer, profiteer!
keeps me irritant company. As middle-distant
salt waters lift, I’ll tilt
a beaujolais & toast to bony appetite–
to all those abroad said

to starve– yet even as yonder
cruise vessels tipsy in festivity offset
the sun (itself pasha upon its incandescent
poufs of cloud), any horizon I manage to keep
an eye on helplessly seasickens me.

Can’t pinch what time
is it now? greedily enough. Ancient imperial
ships, chests stuffed to their distended
hasps with wrought gold rummage & coin, all those
that shivered & sank shook from their loosening
ribs never loot enough to redeem
even what infinitesimal
millisecond ago
just swooped by seizing its nip
of my speed-of-night jittery late light.

The drowning sailors’ senses of humor passed.
If I get up to cross a room my head swims

& oof, a single lugubrious great
blue heron drops out of deadwood & slowly
moseys off the lowdown air. I believe
it was when?– backsliding
years & continents — a moose
circled around and around its own brain worm.

Stay me again against the sand pillars! — I,
to my confusion, who muttered once against what an uproarious
world O no! –not yet another squall!
then later came to acknowledge the feral
ocean, however vigorous the continual
urgings of its surf, mostly flat.


Martha Zweig’s work has received Hopwood and Whiting awards. Her collections include Monkey Lightning, Tupelo Press, 2010; What Kind (2003) and Vinegar Bone (1999), both Wesleyan University Press, and Powers, Vermont Arts Council, 1976. Get Lost, 2014 Rousseau Prize winner, is forthcoming from The National Poetry Review Press.


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