Matt Zambito is the author of The Fantastic Congress of Oddities (Cherry Grove Collections), and two chapbooks, Guy Talk and Checks & Balances (Finishing Line Press). New poems appear in Slice, Pembroke Magazine, Soundings East, Broken Plate, Slipstream, and elsewhere. He writes from Spokane, Washington.
Why We Need the Ocean,
Why the Ocean Needs Us
Because the thick weeds washed up
aren’t weeds at all, the way an unfolded map of
Guam isn’t Guam, but paper. Because the waves
actually leave green crumbs behind,
a trail we should follow
all the way home, home salty home.
Because with all its force, insistent
as genes, and all its will, it requires
something to be fearless for, something able to mistreat it
as if it were the wise ones who pulsed long before
the potential of us. Because if we can
love it in return, then we must, and so we must.
Sea Turtles, Certainly
All skeletons – Hitchcock’s,
every barbet’s, the penultimate
Tyrannosaur’s, and yours (one
horrifying day) – are former warriors
gone rogue. If we swam into
an underwater cave of ancient
sea turtles, certainly
we’d witness the heroic repose,
the shells as shields now beautifully useless
as caskets. But we can’t dive deep enough
into oceans. And we won’t discover anything
outside the present tense. And each
bereavement is a burial at sea –
the saline once washing on the shores
of gregarious cells, suddenly
still as a sand dollar on display.
We’re already beached on ourselves
as it is. Oh, it is a wonderful disease
this being, this being doomed muscle,
magnificence, cytoplasm, skull.
Poem with its Medical Sodium Pentothal Card
Nothing you do tonight will be
better than this is. Nothing
you logic will make P imply Q
like you imagine it will. Nothing,
you know, comprises most of the known
cosmos and your eyes’ acquired atoms.
Nothing you missionize should make
realists believers in Balaam’s
talking donkey (though no earthling is
deserving of beatings). Nothing
you own do you even remotely own,
but borrow rudely until breathing ceases.
Nothing you asperse becomes a theory of
anything, but theories of calumny.
Nothing you, a blah, can blah will blah
like blah. Nothing you babbled as a baby
or yesterday means nothing. Nothing,
you beautiful bundle of joy,
can return your innocence
like planting broccoli can. Nothing you
plant in loam will bloom and wax
without insect sex. Nothing you
ever do (now do you feel
it?) will be worse than this honesty is.