[Readings] Immigrant Sea, By Forrest Gander | Harper's Magazine

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[Readings]

Immigrant Sea

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From Twice Alive, a poetry collection, which was published in May by New Directions.

Aroused by her inaccessibility, he aches for more
of her life to live inside him. Watching

 
 
 

the breakers, standing so close he can feel
heat coming off her wet scalp. What is

 
 
 

his relation to this person
before him, so familiar and foreign? The way

 
 
 

he searches out her face, he searches out himself. Gusts
thrash crests of swell, spring grasses twirl

 
 
 

circles in the sand where they stand without speaking. She
wants him to know it’s all charged, even grass

 
 
 

positive, pollen negative, so when grass waves,
it sweeps the air for pollen. He feels electricity all around

 
 
 

as though the wild drama of the coming storm were already
aware of them, foreigners on this shore. Little

 
 
 

sapphire-blue flowers speckle the dunes.
He wonders if he has let himself flatten out

 
 
 

into a depthless sheet, like escalator stairs, whether in the end
he’ll disappear underground without the smallest lurch

 
 
 

of resistance. But when her lavish face turns toward him
beaming, the corners of her eyes wind-wet,

 
 
 

he yields to that excess, he reappears to himself.

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