Note on Poetry for my Daughter beside Water in April

Even if I say “the gulls tear their screams
from the muddy weather like lines of a brutal poem,”

even if “the lake rises and shakes its old dewlaps
against the boulders of the breakwater,”

it is still a chancy thing to write “I write...”
in the after-world of theory,
where we never forget that “a gull” is not exactly a gull,

where my blonde daughter on the page,
gazing out to red sails that belly and tack
as if the future faltered and came nearer,

is other than my sleek daughter on the beach,
who tires in the wind, and yawns,
and puts her face in the nook of her crossed arms.

But look—gulls dive, waves find the sand.
The impressionist landscape of dunes persists.
Shards of glass ache and glitter in the sun.

Words somehow melt into their objects,
despite the cold fathoms between thought and thing:

imagine this winter-ending warmth
that speaks on your skin and lives in your hair,
that breaks and gambols between your ribs.

James Owens has two collections of poems scheduled for publication in 2007: An Hour is the Doorway, from Black Lawrence Press, and Frost Lights a Thin Flame, from Mayapple Press. He is a Senior Reviewer at The Pedestal. He lives in La Porte, Indiana.

Boxcar Poetry Review - ISSN 1931-1761