On Elemental Sentiments

Sand Flesh and Sky

Clarence Major

Our ropes are the roots

of our life. We fish

low in the earth,

the river beneath runs through our veins,

blue and cold in a riverbed.

When the sun comes up,

the moon moves slowly to the left.

I tie the logs and limbs together,

holding them in place.

The ocean beats them

smooth like rock.

Here my sense of time is flat.

I find in a strip of damp sand

footprints and marks of hands,

and torn pieces of flesh.

Night is a beast.

The tide moves, gushing

back and forth.

Sunlight touches our faces,

turning us, turning us, turning us

in our morning sleep.


-from Configurations:
 New & Selected Poems, 1958-1998


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