Dennis Hinrichsen


you're going to get what you deserve
Nine Inch Nails

clarity in the sense of silence
George Oppen

That's the theory, at least, no cure,

so I just sift the singular gradient,

Florida air—dolphins
          wheeling so that seeing

them I might live among them

and know myself...god money
          at the Algiers, potent

oil slick of credit. I could
          one of the creatures,


I'm sure, or even black

market one of the bathers
          has startled out of perfect

blue-green wavelets
               —a basking

Magnesium blast of sunset

just beginning, we are
               —the crude
          Americans no one

loves, the cancerous
          plunked on towels


so a child, playing, cannot

help but mimic a father's
          as she sculpts a sand-

and—feather city just beyond
               —the lick
          of Gulf. Then drops, dead

knees in roiling foam

when a wave rolls in and her
          world like a glacier calves.

How she tamps the wetness
          shores it up, then giving in,


lets it shipwreck. Puddle now

I step across into salt, over-
          a conversation. Man:

If you'd just come by
               —and shoot
          the machine gun, you'd know.

Woman: Yeah, if you can't hit some-
body with 30 rounds, some-
Man again: You got

to remember—it's a .45. You
          need to hit 'em once.
And now


one of the men, alive, in love

with the earth is stroking
               —past me
          to touch a dolphin. He

too, adores the gradients,
, warming seas,

gray-finned creature
          near his head.

so he is both drowning and
          saved, perhaps composing


a poem—a haiku if he can manage

the count—that begins with
               —body, then
          morphs—an ecstasy

—self and mind in imagined,
          elsewhere, dolphin

feeding in the backwash. Un-

harmed, unmet, recalcitrant.
          at the heels
if that's what

to call the vanishing splash.
                  Cold eye
          of god taken with it. Longing


in the form of later

happening all over the sky.
          water rising and sweet

choking death. Later earth-
               —ash and air-
          ash, palace

of our unbecoming.

I just hope it's a face as kind
               —as Whitman's
          that comes

to fetch me. Singular, collective,
          cratic. A last paralysis


—I swear I won't utter a sound.

Dennis Hinrichsen's most recent work is Skin Music, co-winner of the Michael Waters Poetry Prize from Southern Indiana Review Press. New poems of his can be found in The Adroit Journal, Four Way Review, and Ghost Town. He lives in Lansing, Michigan. 

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