I wish I was the sea, she said one evening, which made me wonder if she saw herself as one specific sea or all of them, maybe strong, or maybe easily manipulated by an unseen force—I don’t get it, I replied, as the cigarette cherry of the sunset smoldered. And she told me if I had to ask I’d never comprehend, which was, I remembered, what I said once about poetry. I was reluctant to mention this, although poetry seemed like the most hopeful subject—Satan Says and Stag’s Leap—some of her treasured collections, terrific lines she taught me how to listen to, so I said of course I understand. After that, nothing was mysterious…And now, weeks later, I still regret pretending to comprehend her comment about the sea. Was it the power?—How it wipes the shore of all its history the way a flame consumes a composition book? Or faithfulness?—How devotedly it dances with the moon? Or was it deception?—Beginning with all that’s hidden by its depths, bacterium and phosphorescent creatures? We knew what every child knows: that just because something’s hidden doesn’t mean it’s not there, that despite our search, the world conceals itself, as if it earnestly believed it could spare us our wonder.
DOMENIC SCOPA is a three-time Pushcart Prize nominee and the 2014 recipient of the Robert K. Johnson Poetry Prize and Garvin Tate Merit Scholarship. He holds an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. His poetry and translations have been featured in Reed Magazine, Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, Reunion: The Dallas Review, Belleville Park Pages, and many others. He is currently a Lecturer at Plymouth State University and a Writing Center Specialist at New Hampshire Technical Institute. His first book, The Apathy of Clouds (FutureCycle Press), is forthcoming in 2018. He currently reads manuscripts for Hunger Mountain and Ink Brush Publications.