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  • Aubade, and: How Distant the Meanings, and: Now and Then
  • Michael Martella (bio)

poetry, connection, weather, sea, poetry, connection, weather, sea, poetry, relationships, identity, individuality



Through the window, what light givesnew meaning in the day. Ultramarine

waters turned blue green, liveoak leaves lightened, shaken awake,

a south wind combing the Spanish mossand carrying clouds ashore: altocumulus

castellanus, gathered overnight,formed from the mortar of the sea—

first signs of weatherthat would paint the sunrise stone.


But now, twilight, final                     hour of possumand lunatic flowers.                           Somnolence of stars.

The moon stretches                           its shapeover the wide sea,                               coyly, as a lover

having thrown off the sheets.         Wavesounds mask sounds                         of breathing—

void                                                           the mind preemptively fills.From the last                                         soft light before sunrise,

two bluebirds                                       light on a power line.Electricity                                               passes between them. [End Page 43]

How Distant the Meanings

Able only to recallhis parting footsteps—the chipping away ata tree one fells at lastto walk away from,which as it buckles irreversiblydescends, the moment between the lastfrayed fibers and its lying leveledsplit into what must bepure ambivalence: how distantthe meanings from fallen to felled,that thought run throughwith what sorrow marks each act of lovean act of sanctificationand grief in equal measure—and too, that he appeared, briefly, to falter,not quite stopping, but seeming towaver, as if he recognized too latea little insect in his pathor felt too stronglythe low sun's light on his face,his shadow stretching behind him,almost to my feet. [End Page 44]

Now and Then

Inasmuch as our facesbear resemblance,now, to what

I imagine of themas they were then,they are parallel strands

of a single shoreline:one of wet sandalong the water, hardened,

pressed into itselfwave after wave; the otheras loose sand skewed

by wind, or—slowly—sieved grainby grain through

open hands,as skin catches lightto cast its shadow;

where they join, shiftingmargin, memory'smost actual arrangement:

less two unified formsthan a single form cleaved,concessions of dry land to sea. [End Page 45]

Michael Martella

Michael Martella earned an MFA from the University of Mississippi. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Rattle, Rust+Moth, and Queer Nature: A Poetry Anthology.



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