by Tamara Jobe


I live in a small pale house
A moment’s march from the beach
My day is growing near

And here I find no peace at all
And here I find no peace at all

 -- Aldous Harding, “No Peace At All”


At night I feel the sea burning in me.

Beyond the island, its milky hues solidifying in lunar planes under my feet,
I search for stinging things on the pier: a pair of trampled glasses,
all hushed and rubbed down, lost girl sight;
petrified starfish, cracked down the middle and lighter than air;
an abandoned boat shoe, men’s size ten, a tassel missing
and frayed, as if bitten, as if decayed.

I collect these things, these talismans,
stripped, raw, sick with seasalt and heavy,
a waiting womb
suddenly full of thumbs.

Is it the water that burns? Her darkness that deepens
in refusals; worry stones; a black bag of earth.

My feet carry me to the house,
carry my thumb womb,
carry an entire sea, burning.

Soon, the day, with its promises,
its flat arias, its limp and its questions.
I stand. Press against the front door,
reach to open it. I won’t say what hurts.