Best of the Net 2009  


The way we sat at dinner
over a dish of rank mussels
and talked about food,
one would have thought
we had always been hungry.

We recalled the conquest
of shellfish: bivalves, arthropods
deprived of calcite and scale,
of quivering jellyfish, sliced fresh
on a bed of pickles.

But when we came to the one
delicate variety of creature
trawled from the waters that lap
up against your hometown, its name
escaped you --

language, elusive, slipped
up between us like the sea,
all salt and somnolence,

the way I imagine Magellan
must have seen the tide rising
in the space before the spear hit home
and knew, but could not articulate

that the ocean is a seamless sphere,
binding one broken horizon to the next
under a sky that rarely ever
guides us back to where we began.

- Iris A. Law (from Cha: An Asian Literary Journal)