Hypnerotomachia MariaeI had been considering today, becoming a refugee
into bright deep sky wilderness no longer crowned
with stars; it is the thousands dead/I was considering,
if you would take me. Waves oscillate/reverse current,
spent thousands to bring me here, parents
considered. Not long before that little peninsula
across seeks to withdraw blood into its heart,
notices me, says, “Oh, I have been meaning to write
a postcard. How fare you this fine evening?”
as I retch out Americana/overseas Korean.
Two poles stake my tent over sea continent sea.
Territory I can claim/does not claim me.
If I die, rock me westward—or do as the old
whalers: unfurl me down the Nantucket beachhead.
I am considering how to shed my mammal skin,
how my possessions would fit, no matter how damp,
into that craft. I have been on logistics all day,
donations/rubbish for the curb, induce current flow
in this changing field/self. I read once whalers
island-stranded ate all the turtles, the wild birds, the bird’s eggs.
Ate fish jumping free of the salt & bugs & lichen & moss
bones sand the hand of a dead crewmate,
sloughing off blackened skin to feast on raw/red substance.
When the island became shivering, naked, like themselves,
they gazed at the mirror they had made
from shell scraps and tidal guilt. Hit like wave;
still they prayed, stayed and stayed
hard like grave. Then, into that stripped down bareness
a soul. I have been considering this, seafaring
refuge, where I will lay down as bones and purity,
another shell on the reef: another shell.
Maria S. Picone writes, paints, and teaches from her home in South Carolina. Her writing has been published in Kissing Dynamite, Ligeia, and Q/A Poetry, among others. A Korean adoptee, Maria explores themes of identity, place, and social justice in her work. She received an MFA in fiction from Goddard College. Her website is mariaspicone.com, Twitter @mspicone.
Banner Art: Untitled ©️Robynne Limoges
Robynne Limoges is a UK based visual artist. More information about her work, exhibitions and publications can be found at her website: www.RobynneLimoges.com and at Twitter: @LimogesRobynne.