Ottava Pacific Maritima: Seeing the Pacific for the First Time
Its vastness cannot be fitted into any box. —Joyce Carol Oates
This cold gray span is not my aqua sea
tucked warm into the South’s sugar-beach armpit.
Its ancient-elder voice spoke to me
of storms and depths, and treasure lost one moonlit
night of murder at the foot of Neahkahnie.
They say this ocean has no memory, which befits
its lost world aura, beyond language and time,
Beloved and bedeviled, a Northwest paradigm.
Susan Swartwout, from Oregon by way of Louisiana and Missouri, is the author of Odd Beauty, Strange Fruit: Poems (Brick Mantel Books) and co-editor of Hurricane Blues: Poems About Katrina and Rita (Southeast Missouri State UP), Real Things: An Anthology of Popular Culture in American Poetry (Indiana UP), and A Student’s Guide to Publishing (Pearson).