waterfalls of the sun

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Drea Art
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Dogfish by Mary Oliver

Some kind of relaxed and beautiful thing

kept flickering in with the tide

and looking around.

Black as a fisherman’s boot,

with a white belly.

If you asked for a picture I would have to draw a smile

under the perfectly round eyes and above the chin,

which was rough

as a thousand sharpened nails.

And you know

what a smile means,

don’t you?

I wanted

the past to go away, I wanted

to leave it, like another country; I wanted

my life to close, and open

like a hinge, like a wing, like the part of the song

where it falls

down over the rocks: an explosion, a discovery;

I wanted

to hurry into the work of my life; I wanted to know,

whoever I was, I was

alive

for a little while.

It was evening, and no longer summer.

Three small fish, I don’t know what they were,

huddled in the highest ripples

as it came swimming in again, effortless, the whole body

one gesture, one black sleeve

that could fit easily around

the bodies of three small fish.

Also I wanted

to be able to love. And we all know

how that one goes,

don’t we?

Slowly

the dogfish tore open the soft basins of water.

You don’t want to hear the story

of my life, and anyway

I don’t want to tell it, I want to listen

to the enormous waterfalls of the sun.

And anyway it’s the same old story – – –

a few people just trying,

one way or another,

to survive.

Mostly, I want to be kind.

And nobody, of course, is kind,

or mean,

for a simple reason.

And nobody gets out of it, having to

swim through the fires to stay in

this world.

And look! look! look! I think those little fish

better wake up and dash themselves away

from the hopeless future that is

bulging toward them.

And probably,

if they don’t waste time

looking for an easier world,

they can do it.

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