31 Days: Apocalypse, Now ~ Day 5 :: Low Tide

metalorbburiedfernKCCExtNLNH29Sept2018Welcome to day 5 of 31 Days of Apocalypse, Now, a month of posts about apocalypse, revelation, uncovering what’s been hidden. Each post will look at these ideas from its own vantage point, which may not obviously connect with the others, and which may only peripherally seem related. I won’t attempt to tie the posts together. They’ll all be listed here, as they are posted.


Odiorne Point State Park at Low Tide

Uncovered, the periwinkle snails grab on
to any rock and wait, each slurping foot
binding fast to earth as sea recedes, recedes,
their gills retaining water for days on end
and yet they don’t bloat. In fact, they eat,
diatoms, algae, herbs of the sea filed with
raspy snail tongues from the slick
mottled rocks, rocks draped with lasagna-wide
kelp,sea lettuce in layers, dulse,
a sort of salty leafy raised bed,
do-it-yourself farmer’s market for
this vast snail community,
munchies while they wait in stark view
for the sheltering depths, watching

Barnacles, once free-swimming, now live
at a fixed address through all eternity,
any place they feel settled and secure:
whales, boats, pilings, these
rocks, these fantastic patterned rocks,
their stony faces summon rust, weathered
copper, chartreuse liqueur, poppies in a field,
the bloodstained floor of an ancient church,
proclamations so lush, bold, rash,
but underneath, such a blank gaze.
Here on these painted rocks, the pale
barnacles, feeling not quite as secure as hoped,
make a secret of themselves, hold close
their life blood, reverse engineered to seawater,
circulate it madly, hope just to survive
our mortal crushing weight.

Meanwhile, their crustacean cousins, crabs and the like,
are probably already dead here on the shore,
dead and buried, dead and waiting,
washed up after a long life and a completely natural
death at sea, or dropped, flailing,
shattered, from a gull’s grip,
still lovely and essentially jabby but no longer sidling
and swimming, now posing impassively for photos
that will be labelled “dead crab” and “dead crab 2.”
And again, as though an audience were hoped for,
the colours that could make you drink, paint, sigh:
the claret, sangria, mulberry, terracotta,
vermilion, parchment, old rose that
emerge from chitin as the crab becomes
more rock than animal, shrouded
again by the apocalyptic tide.


Leave a Reply