How sea-foam melts
snow as waves wash
ashore. Why water
like glass, and rose-lit sky?
Absence of disaster—
the wind, the missed.
How I can hardly tell
where sky ends, sea begins:
the horizon a strange mirror.
The clouds. The surge. The ship.
What of the wreck, the sun,
the wind, the weight?
A chorus of voices
whips over the water—
almost a reconstruction.
How meekly the sand makes
sucking sounds. The surge.
The ship. The breakers. The missed.
A Way To Mark Time
We watch workers, dogs, accidents, taxis,
by the chemical-frothed East River
and this lump of moon, fumes rising
from the city. We could count cedar waxwings
above the Newtown Creek come morning
all the workers, dogs, accidents, taxis
revved up, ready for day. But you say
you want the old wounds gone.
Forget this lump of moon, fumes
from the rainbow canal, the city’s
bottom, dredge of the river.
Workers, dogs, accidents, taxis
busy on the bridge above us.
And I pour the wine into tin cups,
a lump of moon reflected, no fumes
just fruit, for a second. A place
of mixed lineage, of histories, fictions,
workers, dogs, accidents, taxis,
a lump of moon, fumes rising from the city.
Jessica Ratigan received her MFA from New York University’s creative writing program in 2007. Her work has appeared in The Greensboro Review, Blackbird, and Hunger Mountain. Ratigan currently lives in Hampton, Virginia, where she teaches English and creative writing at Hampton High School.