Poetry Shelf Monday Poem: Michaela Keeble’s ‘the ocean’

 

the ocean

 

 

the ocean faces us

 

he stands

with his back to us

 

he’s not interested

he’s interested

only in his own

 

expansion

 

he watches his belly

begin to swell

 

he wonders

what will come of it

 

he cradles the feeling

and controls it

 

he’s not interested in us

perhaps he is interested

 

in our children

 

we step back

stumbling

 

we feel his rash

blooming

 

we track his fish

fleeing

 

we test

his acid reflux

 

we ask

 

is this sickness

or birth

 

it’s impossible to know

how he will handle this

 

 

i have no right

to call him by his name

 

but i can’t pretend

he doesn’t exist

 

i’m scared of him

i’m scared for him

 

i can’t conceive

of the harm we plan

 

and still we must think

about our children

 

we have to show them

how to greet him

 

even if it looks

like nursery rhyme

 

even if we don’t know

how to pray

 

even if we don’t know

how to change

 

Michaela Keeble

 

 

 

Michaela Keeble is an Australian writer living in Aotearoa with her partner and kids. For a living she writes about climate change but her poems (still evidence-based) are published fairly widely, including in Pantograph Punch, Westerly, Plumwood Mountain, Southerly, Not Very Quiet, Cicerone and Mimicry. She’s currently taking part in a climate science+art collaboration facilitated by TrackZero and spends a lot of time making books with a coven of women poets who live mainly in Porirua.

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