Nicholas Wright, In Some Distant but not Too Distant Era

The ocean bathed in animal and air
became a wall against the fish.

They lipped hungrily at the sky
and spun themselves into one

motile thicket. Beneath a window of ice
a broken clock filled with the Pacific.

If I should rummage under hours
will I discover that I was always

an imperfect mystery of flesh
and wishing. Do I own the undertows

of my pelt: the soft bridge for blood
and imagination where the notes are waiting

for a dark current of hand to etch letters
into the sound of orange fog:

the ghost of a shoal that spilled
through San Francisco before we named it:

the threading of forest into a new affable creature,
where I pulled off my exosphere of skull,

where the crabs scavenged my vestigial limbs,
and inside a drop of sweat I will vent

a numinous fever. The city corals and drafts –
as handsome as a man second guessing.