Mary Oliver





The Sea

Stroke by
    stroke my
       body remembers that life and cries for
             the lost parts of itself----
fins, gills
    opening like flowers into
        the flesh----my legs
            want to lock and become
one muscle, I swear I know
    just what the blue-gray scales
        shingling
            the rest of me would
feel like!
     paradise! Sprawled
         in that motherlap,
              in that dreamhouse
of salt and exercise,
     what a spillage
           of nostalgia pleads
                from the very bones! how
they long to give up the long trek
     inland, the brittle
          beauty of understanding,
               and dive,
and simply
     become again a flaming body
           of blind feeling
                 sleeking along
in the luminous roughage of the sea's body,
     vanished
          like victory inside that
               insucking genesis, that
roaring flamboyance, that
     perfect
          beginning and
                conclusion of our own.



spoken = Susannah Wood