Kelleys Island Elegy with Wind and Hearsay
This deafening dirty roar was the wind’s idea,
but the water agrees over and over, then says wait
when it’s far too late, the sand already all up
in its skirts. The trees nod but they’re troubled,
they almost remember the last time this happened.
The gulls skate sideways, sure that something
interesting will turn up. For once the breakwater
is earning its keep. And yet a hundred yards inland
it’s all hearsay and innuendo, rumors the low weeds
toss off without a thought. One more scandal,
one more line buzzing in a starlet who forgot
her panties on purpose, what’s it to them?
At the boardwalk’s end a soggy trail, and a sudden
white tail. A flight of cormorants surfs the torrent
on their way south, hoping this is lucky as it seems.
On the alvar shore it’s easy to believe the waves
are pouring down a long slow hill, they bruise
and bounce so angry, so off-kilter, in such a hurry
and then so lost about their next move.
Jeff Gundy’s sixth book of poems, Somewhere Near Defiance, is forthcoming from Anhinga. A book of essays on theopoetics, Songs from an Empty Cage: Poetry, Mystery, Anabaptism, and Peace, is also due soon. Other new poems are in The Sun, Cincinnati Review, Kenyon Review, Nimrod, and elsewhere. In 2008 Gundy was a Fulbright lecturer in American Studies at the University of Salzburg, and an essay based on that time is forthcoming in Georgia Review.