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The Harbor
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We rowed all afternoon and didn’t speak.
When the beeswax in our ears dripped down our beards,
we heard the singing, women’s voices trilling
a melody we knew but could not place.

We dropped our oars and leaned against the gunwales,
looking toward the harbor dotted with rocks
where groggy seals barked and sprawled, their figures
frisking in the foam of combers breaking.

The song grew louder then, flooding the air
with strains that made our hearts beat in our ears.
Our pumping blood accompanied the music
it hurt to hear, but hurt more not to hear.

The seals lifted their heads as if to catch
the song inside their mouths, their jaws gaping,
their sleek bodies bobbing to the rhythm,
swaying together in a kind of trance.

We wanted to be the seals, to feel our bellies
slap against cold stone, our wet fur gleaming
as we cracked raw mussels with our teeth
and dozed beside each other in the sun.

Misenus broke the spell, tossing the vat
of wax at our feet, pointing and glaring at us
until we pressed fresh clumps into our ears.
Our thoughts sounded like wind inside a shell.

Riding a long swell, we rose and fell
into open water, leaving behind the islands.
The surface of the sea glinted like fish scales.
Our blades dipped in the waves and scudded foam.

Brian Brodeur  

Brian Brodeur’s Natural Causes won the 2011 Autumn House Poetry Prize. His recent work appears in Copper Nickel, The Missouri Review , and Pleiades . He lives with his wife in Cincinnati, where he is an Elliston Fellow in Poetry in the English and Comparative Literature doctoral program at the University of Cincinnati.

Copyright © 2013 Louisiana State University Press
Project MUSE® - View Citation
Brian Brodeur. "The Harbor." Southern Review 49.4 (2013): 546-547. Project MUSE. Web. 10 Oct. 2013. <http://muse.jhu.edu/>.
Brodeur, B.(2013). The Harbor. Southern Review 49(4), 546-547. Louisiana State University Press. Retrieved October 10, 2013, from Project MUSE database.
Brian Brodeur. "The Harbor." Southern Review 49, no. 4 (2013): 546-547. http://muse.jhu.edu/ (accessed October 10, 2013).
T1 - The Harbor
A1 - Brian Brodeur
JF - Southern Review
VL - 49
IS - 4
SP - 546
EP - 547
PY - 2013
PB - Louisiana State University Press
SN - 2168-5541
UR - http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/southern_review/v049/49.4.brodeur.html
N1 - Volume 49, Number 4, Autumn 2013
ER -


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