Shores of One Island
Marcus McCann

Through bramble, we caught poplars exhaling. White fur
soap bubbles, hundreds, as if pure light detached from flora

could with only an inkling of an earthly arc canoe through air.
They weren’t in my idea of the beach

but we might as well give ourselves to their whimsy.
That was the first lesson. We undressed and lay. Tiny yogis

in ermine coats headed for transcendence: they carried themselves
the way we’d hoped to treat our day’s vacation.

I wanted to touch the world so lightly.
To hammer it home, we made a game of metaphor:

crumbs of clouds, porcupines sculpted
from milkweed, souls en route to an orgy…

and I thought we’d hit the groove of lyric. But it sedimented
in the literal sense — breeze rhinestoning us

with unstoppable, obsessive fluff everywhere we sweated
plus our mouths and eyes. And when we stood, we saw

seeds had filled the shallows of the lake. We shuddered at the sight:
endless, gooseshit coloured, and sort of waving at us.

But these are different shores of one island.
There is no way off it. And as we packed, the poplar seeds

slowburning like a guitarist at a campfire
whose one drunk song is Helpless went on and on and on.


“Shores of One Island” first appeared in Matrix Magazine; photo by Martin Lang, used uder CC licence