Robert Dana's most recent books are Hello, Stranger (Anhinga Press, 1996) and Yes, Everything (Another Chicago Press, 1994). He was awarded the Delmore Schwartz Memorial Prize for Poetry in 1989, and a Pushcart Prize in 1996. Other work by Robert Dana published in Weber Studies can be seen at: Vol. 22.3 (conversation); Vol. 22.3 (poetry).
My neighbors look at the sea and see only the sea.
Sometimes 5 seems to me closer to 10 than to 7.
Probably there's a scientific term for this
that would make sense of it all if only I knew it.
In the morning sun, some lost text from the Koran,
or love poem in Persian, carved by wave-action
in the hard sand. To read without understanding.
Last night, I saw the angel of evening,
enormous, in slate-blue robes, falling on
bent wing toward the horizon, rolling
the last light before it; leaving behind
its wreck of embers, rose-colored and burning;
sinking in the blackening waters off Sanibel.
Noon. Hot. The waters of the Gulf pooling
liquid silver. The man with the blue parrot
bicycles by. Two girls in bikinis, pythons
wrapped about their waists, pose for pictures.
Little mission bells of the ice cream cart,
jangling and ringing, its brown Dominican
sweating under the sign of the dead palm.
I no longer think of the blonde child
sunburned and eating wild blueberries
on the Cape. Or of myself.
A herring gull glides low over an old
couple lying in the sand. He, a tanned hulk
bloated with pleasures; she, as she is.
Neither the woman nor the man feels
its shadow pass over them or sees it
alight on a nearby post, scissoring
back its perfect morning-coat of wings.
My Spanish captains! I neither blink
nor pray. Like you, I hold my
place, for a moment, among these things.
Issa at Jenner
Scarlet Pimpernel or Poor
Man's Weather-Glass, tiniest
of primroses; and Blue-Eyed
Grass, and common Crane's
Bill. The first, poisonous
and demure. Small, bright
stars in a heaven of dirt.
Blooms of wind, too, shaking
the surface of a bowl of water.
Late Winter Early Morning Snow
ganglia of bare trees
and a brown townscape
sugared over with thin,
late snow; the early
morning streets, silent;
empty; not a serious
thought awake in them.
And all this only my
words in the cold air
of this white page;
frail breath of a net
set to snare the first
bird that flies, stiff
in its feathers, or struts
these dormant lawns,
fluting and penny-whistling,
cocky as a robin on ice.