Gin Cove

Heather McHugh

Our grounds are knuckles, needles, degradable
ideograms. Granite is
lichened to

gold graduations; but gold beyond degree has sunk
to new September lows, sent stripes across
a hundred trunks for one

hour only, codes to deepest moss.
Out in the open, some deciduousness does
brisk business in manifold

crosshatch. Were you to be drawn
past forest to the shore, you'd read
long volumes in the cliff's descent:

through nine horizons (ages of pebble,
ages of shale) this lean subversive root has struck
a lyric, corkscrewed vertical. The beach

is one big wedge. It makes
its hard point underwater, and keeps
its uplands fluted (evidence of decades spent

in failing at a dune). Upon this higher composition,
skeins of black egg-sac and olive tatter
twist their best

successions of remark.
The beach has lured into its sandhold
something hacked-off, root-like, ten feet wide,

and tipped it over, and begun to swallow it:
half of the muscular tangle protrudes
above the fluent strand. Such countlessness

is script; unfathomable, and exact.
Forget the faithless poet: she could only
suborn senses into sense. Impressed

into episteme, the few
become the future, and the littoral
a literature. In suffix, much is merely made

of what was born: by nature (or by morture)
sutures can be lent
to something torn. But letters! (let

the link be rent.) Where human pining
and opining stop, they crop
up, serif-sent.

Copyright ©1996 Heather McHugh All rights reserved.

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