Salty Blessing

By Roy Dean Doughty
Written 7/11/08

An aggressive high tide has usurped the salt flats
Of the estuary channel, and, backed by the muscle
Of a militant wind, she roughs up and pushes back
Her languid freshwater creek. The evening air is cooling
After days of heat, and there is just enough respite
From the constant atavistic struggle of tyranny
And anarchy to discover something beyond
That nervous laughter, which separates our heads
From our bodies in times of stress or revelation.
In this uneasy between-space, we listen to the voice
Of the summer’s saber master. How arrogantly
He praises the unseen underwater darkness
And turbulence. “When you kill,” he says,
Through the interminable bird, insect,
And water ruckus, “it is different each time,
Just as it is different each time you bed
A women.” And as we hear these
Blasphemies, the whole of the estuary
And its entire tidal environs becomes somehow
More actual, more savage, in a way that lifts
The heavy, hitherto incombustible, curtain
Of the day, and ruffles its deckled fringe
With the hurrying fires of sunset.
We have to admit that these movements
Are evocative of an ineffable strangeness,
Half terror, half delight, in which love
Takes root again, even in the very maw of fear.
And thus, thus, we are calmed, when the tide-line
Wrinkles its long white scar, as if,
Serpentine and insentient as she is,
She can still inhale the immaculate odor of prayer.

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