When we were out walking that day, our
voices drowned by the sea, we talked
about our bodies in a city of plastic surgery,
how to love them without resenting gravity,
the daytime moon pressing down on us
as we walked side by side, stepping
over dead men o’ war, bruised coral, our feet
soft from sand and sea foam. Last year a doctor
told me, “Hmm. Looks like you lost a half inch.”
Everybody shrinks. Everybody
masturbates as well. I saw a kid’s book
on Amazon that says so and I realized that,
being human, I like to think
we’re all the same—although I heard recently
in some countries it’s customary to spit
on a child to protect her from the evil eye.
There’s a lot of spit in a bird’s nest,
that’s the way the twigs and feathers
stick together, such an elemental cement. Our
bodies aren’t used to tumbling across a gym floor.
Neither are they supposed to fold themselves
into backpacks or keep themselves young as isotopes.
Mr. Google says isotopes are measured
through “radiometric dating,” which sounds a lot
like eHarmony for protons, speaking of which,
I keep getting a pop up ad for “SinglesOver50.com.”
How rude! I wonder if they’re in cahoots
with the crematoria people of South Florida who
send me special rates daily or if
baby boomers really will tip the earth on its noggin
sooner than we think. (Shrink)
(Bloat) (Shrink) (Bloat) You can buy your own
casket at Costco! Jen and Carol just joined
and bought a whole ton of shoes for next to nothing.
I myself own few shoes since moving to Florida.
I also have no raincoat, no wool socks, and I never bake
in a real oven anymore. I don’t even use my stove
since the burners are cockeyed and hard to clean.
My favorite “cooking” device
is a microwave which can’t compare and those
waves scare me (or is it particles?). Anyway: Florida.
Now there’s a little tink tink if ever there was one.
I’ve got seven more propositions for you
before I let myself watch The Good Wife on iTunes
or buy the boxed set of Friday Night Lights.
I would like to win just once, something more than luggage,
something like an argument, an argument with myself
which is what Yeats called poetry. My nephew
yells “touchdown” every time he sees a ball,
but I can’t think too much about football or my mind
turns into a sock hop. I prefer car chases,
the screeching of brakes, nephews jumping
from monkey bars. (Monkee bars.)
O, Davy Jones, sweet teen idol, wanna-be-
Beatle, Daydream Believer, years later
raising horses in Indiantown, FL, where
I once went to get my hair cut. I was worried
when I realized my bathing suit made me
look exactly like a penguin or a sea otter,
a shark would love to eat, which is only one
reason I didn’t wear it the day we walked on the beach,
talking and talking, our bodies turning turquoise
in the twilight. I’m glad we donned our hats
and plunged our hands into the surf, our prints
washing away straight to the Sargasso, where the ocean
is a soup of seeds and beans and eels and dreams:
continents that were once connected
stirring a gigantic witchy pot.
MAUREEN SEATON’s new and selected, Fibonacci Batman, is out from Carnegie Mellon University Press (2013) She is the author of numerous poetry collections, both solo and collaborative, and a memoir, Sex Talks to Girls (University of Wisconsin Press). Her awards include the Iowa Prize, Lambda Literary Award, Audre Lorde Award, NEA fellowship, and the Pushcart. Seaton teaches poetry at the University of Miami, Florida.
DENISE DUHAMEL’s most recent collection Blowout (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2013) was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her other books include Ka-Ching! (Pittsburgh, 2009), Two and Two (Pittsburgh, 2005), and Queen for a Day: Selected and New Poems (Pittsburgh, 2001). A recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, she is a professor at Florida International University in Miami.