Poetry at Sangam



THE ISLAND by Jon Davis

Gray and fog-draped the island
          loomed legendary in firelight
                    a gathering against death and cold a village
we were forbidden to return to
          by elders who had grown ashamed
                    of their old lives their dances
the language they’d spoken before
          the planet’s thin garment
                    of civilization
enticed them to stand up
          in the liminal in the dreamlight
                    and build a flimsy shack
of reason a raft of the sensible 
          and they stopped seeing
                    cormorants skimming the waves

gaunt herons in the tideflash
          barnacled whales lunging
                    gape-mouthed at herring and krill

stopped eating the foods
          they’d broken apart with their hands
                    and pressed to their faces
smearing their cheeks like
          children happy in the grease
                    and swale of it happy
in the spume of things
          in the litter of shells the wrack
                    and pulse of oblivion