I could not sleep
It was too dark, too cold
It was too hot
I was too full of dreams
I was too dream-deprived
Too tired, too full of rest
It was all too strangely familiar.
I was at a funeral
Maybe my mother’s only sister
I was at a convention
I had a newborn
I was assigned a party suite
The words came easily
I had to labor for each one
I couldn’t keep oil from the marsh
I couldn’t crawl out of my fog
to see for sure
I stopped to tell my brother and his wife
They lived too far away
I took the bus
I walked from the last stop
I brought milk to feed the baby
I walked without a friend
She asked me about the church
I told her I cannot go there
Only to the sanctuary
The phone catches me as I’m about to leave
I can’t stop crying
I cannot wake up
Joy roiled, deep grief
this territory, this state, this condition
Verbs of Being
–for Julie, who listens
Ocean lulls or pulls or rolls or roars
or pounds or thrums or hums
or inhales to do so.
Creek percolating, burbling, bubbling, brooking,
gurgling, gargling, gushing, ruffling,
rippling, riling, rising, tumbling.
Birds to wheet, to peep, too two to wit
To squawk or weep, to peck a song
to shrill, to shriek or squeak, to tap
to call, to count, to out amount of air
Humans talk, structure words into
Pronounce. Disclaim. Orate. Expostulate.
Hypothesize, theorize, historicize, philosophize
Specialize, aggrandize, monopolize, mechanize.
The need to listen. Sometimes listen.
Inhale. Sometimes hear. Exhale.
Sometimes see the world breathe.
About a statement of conscience or ecopoetics, I think “Verbs of Being” does that about as well as I can do it, so let me pick up terms from that poem. In the pull, the roll, the thrum of the ocean, the world breathes. Listen, and breathe along.
Margaret Rozga lives near Lake Michigan and grew to love the ocean during a residency at the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology on the central Oregon Coast. Her poetry and nonfiction have appeared recently in the Capitola Review, Binnacle, Vocabula, Stone’s Throw Magazine and Memoir (and). Her book, Two Hundred Nights and One Day, was awarded a bronze medal for poetry in the 2009 Independent Publishers Book Awards.