somewhere an island : in three parts

by Loie Merritt

if listening to music did enough, I would tell it thank you and
walk away more slowly
if playing the cello were easy, I would have started five years ago
if five years ago, I was told the cliffs would drown to water that

my mother would cry
salt water polishing the flaky stones
and ripe rose hips would bleed island blood
sap which tastes of sugared dust and budweiser from a can

if I quit before nine, I can make the big show before the curtain
drops and turns to velvet
of a man’s upper arm

and the heat beneath
an arm that makes beats
a heart beat with strings

if the heart of a beat were easy to trace, I would teach him
impromptu sensitivities of red

on blue water

if the ocean had less salt we would have more, peppered with
pride and the life of a lithium

pills boiled in controversies
and then the sound board flooded

if I heard what he was dearly saying, I would smother him in hot
wax to freeze the tongue

a reclamation of personal faith

if faith were easy, I’d take two and sleep straight through morning

dreaming of a pair of sex vultures and Miss Jean Harlow


I define the atlantic by sliced leather feet
on the teeth of a barnacle hidden in low tide seaweed

the north is a dead whale’s song
and rotting was the safe way out

cliffs hold fog close on sunday when church is in session
and her breasts are cut by seagrass

when I read compass dictionaries cold

we abandon our navigation tools half exposed in the sand


eyes down without eyelids touching bottom lash /no easy feet he
said /no really you have
easy feet / I’m drunk she said /it’s just the water /you can’t really
breathe in /so she
asked if he could really see / he said one-eyed and trying

jealousy smells like burnt toast / his hands are rough / her tag is
showing / listening to
disco guitar /which is like a waitress waiting with no bra /and
oh boy she’s full of it
tonight /does he have a job

if he didn’t it wouldn’t matter /she doesn’t pay taxes on tips /
still /if he rests his hand
on the side of the chair it’s not too forward /not full frontal or
inside the thigh /still /
her leg goes numb

kneel down and rub it back to life /the closer she gets /the
better plain toast tastes /even
if his elbows are little too fat /and his eyes can’t decide what
color to be /and the}
restaurant is closing / for the season