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Monday's Poem

© 2013 Carol Shillibeer


Born of a union between an artist (ethnicity 2c) and a scientist (ethnicity 5b), Carol Shillibeer believes in fertile connections. Multiple ways of thinking, hearing the world speak: adenosine tri-phosphate is a fundamental life metaphor. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in many journals.

"Equinox at the beach" was originally published in Written River: a journal of eco-poetics, published by Hiraeth Press.

Equinox at the Beach

It is immensely quiet. Each leaf slides
through the blue

unuttered, on a breath of air, the world
barely disturbed; but the whisper

of their fall unsettles.
The ground—

receives what has all this year
been held

away, up in the sky. It's all suyapi,

and immoderately beautiful. But
it can't last, now that the light

has broken. Now it rains
through incandescent blue, and the sun

lies across the sands in bright black
lines; the trees cast

shadows upward and the water, so long
held in the sea, has risen,

airy, free from its bowl, breaking,
with only a pale hiss, the horizon.

The sky is full now of the depths'
lustre. The birds: grounded.

The heron walks on water; the crow
pushes into the sand.


This is the moment when the year turns.
The sailboat remains soundless, but the white

sail surfaces, pierces the meniscus of the grey
sky. No horizon now: the bumpy ridge of trees,

the mountains hidden under the water-filled
welkin walk as the sky begins to sag. And I. I

am swimming through sand
here with the birds — on the beach

under the crumpling air with feathers
paring away what remains of the blue.

Sky soft, the empyrean deep
deflates. On my face, a caul — what was

once high, air's skin, come to rest,
cheek bones and lips.


It's not that the year will suddenly
switch back to how it was,

that things will snap to, go forward
again, face front into time,

become not-suyapi, but that
we will. Our perception will snap

to the world's frame and it will be
as if that is how it always was.

When a cherry leaf yellowed lets go
it will drift on the eddying air.

We will see it that way. And it will
seem that always the birds

walked on water and the rain
from the sky came down to earth.

It is only here in the changing moment,
when the sky and sea shudder,

then shatter: recompose the image
of the world. Here, only here,

we are free to see both backward and
forward at once.

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