The Sea Roads

The Sea Roads
Neile Graham

Here in my coat of skin I look down into the water, watch one sky leave
taking with it the rain. Another sky

follows close behind, deep in that clouded water where I am a shade
embodied, flesh-garbed and sailing

the sea-rumpled sky, in transit in a firmament itself between weathers.
This is the dangerous part of the voyage:

where I can step out of my skin like a child discards her raingear
and galoshes and runs out into the sun

in command of where she comes from and where she’s going, ready to take
possession of the land to come.

To give it leave to take possession of her. This self-deceit. I tell myself
I am travelling light: unafraid of redress

expecting a paradise, a different life winged and careless. A tale easy to tell
on the passage when the marine air

is meadow-sweet, ignoring the smell of tar and ropes and the acrid sweat
of spent human strength. Focus instead

on the resonant rumour of sun, the impulse of summer leaning against
the lurching railing as ocean breezes

my hair. The road between is never long enough. Back on shore I live
in the world on the world’s terms

translating story for story, to tell the pain to tell the truth:
here I am transported.

 

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Neile Graham is Canadian by birth and inclination but is a long-term Seattle resident where she can still live close to the beach and the rainforest. Her publications includes three poetry collections, most recently Blood Memory, a spoken word CD, She Says: Poems Selected & New, and poems in various journals, including most recently Interfictions, Through the Gate, and Goblin Fruit.

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