by Leslie Leyland Fields


Across the wide bay, fin whales feed,

great sinking ships.

Wind lifts ocean to lace.

Mountains wear their own sky,

Volcanoes fume.

The dizzying spruce sway shadows across the sun.

Under the bay, red corals grow houses

like veins, hearts.

And here, along the tideline, fragments of it all—

whale bones, ash, lost trees, homes.

Each time I come here with you

the continent’s shelf tilts, empties, delivers

to our hands and feet this surplus.

And gathering these pieces

I am already generous,

forgiving breached promises, lost homes, broken hopes.

I lay these weights down

on the beach,

now small and light as the coil of red coral

I rest at your feet.