08 April 2013

Tuesday Poem: Revenant

When they pulled me from the water
I had scarcely finished breathing
My fingernails dripped blood and sand
My slack-jawed face had turned the blue of ocean

They pushed and pulled my heart to action

I stumbled from the cooling sand
and ate the proferred wafer
All along my neck and arms
the hair stood up in terror

I knew you would see nothing

My eyes still blink
my lips still speak my
feet still strike the pavement
We laugh and smile
and in your speech I
hear the kelp pods cracking

But in the moonless dark of night
avoid the outer windows
I walk beneath the summer rain
and see the green mouth closing
In my wake the crusted salt
dissolves upon the grass blades

Credit note: "Revenant" was published in my first poetry collection, Boat People (2002).

Tim says: I tried this idea - a fantasy/horror transfiguration of the time I nearly drowned in 1989 - as both a short story and a poem. I never got anywhere much with the story, but this poem made it into my first collection. If I was writing it now, there are some things I would do differently, but I like the lurching rhythm that gets going for a while in the third stanza.

The Tuesday Poem: Is particularly worth checking out at the moment, as the jazz poem the Tuesday Poets are collectively writing for the third anniversary of the Tuesday poem is growing vaster than empires, and a good deal quicker.


Kathleen Jones said...

Really did give me goosebumps Tim - I'm glad you didn't smooth it out!

Penelope said...

I like the semi-religious aspects: baptism, the wafer. But what dread creature, hm?

Tim Jones said...

Thanks, Kathleen and Penelope!

All I can say to your comment, Penelope, is: look at the way they're slouching!

Rachel Fenton said...

Revenant and relevant - I am too fond of "the crusted salt dissolves upon the grass blades" - it's just such a sensory line - imagining holding the grass between thumbs and blowing.

Tim Jones said...

Thank you, Rachel!