Of the Sea*

September 4, 2016

Of the Sea - Jacob Hartsoch
2016 Merit Award
By Jacob Hartsoch

Say it in all caps.
That you were wet and walloped.

That before you spoke for your people
you pulled nets black at dusk,
salt and blood on your hands.

Somewhere it happened, the camas
still moist in the meadow. Sharp knives
and northern lights were not enough.

Coal seams ran, dirty and dark.

Old men stopped standing on towers,
went up river to empty cabins,
played dusty book charades.

We cannot outlast each other, you said.

And so they came. Six man boats
pulled hard down the strait, as birds
burst from silt then circled back,

one wing high to the wind.

. . . . .
*Copyright 2016 by Jacob Hartsoch. Broadside illustrated by Megan Carroll.

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2 Responses to “Of the Sea*”

  1. Jesse Larsen Says:

    I love this poem and thank you for sharing these.

    And now that I’m here, I must also mourn the fact that the bus poems are printed in a font size too tiny to be read on the bus. I ride the bus at least twice daily and if I didn’t recognize the posters from this site, I would have no idea it was a poem. Everything about it, even the graphics, are too small to appreciate on a bus. I’m sure this is a fixable problem; maybe a sign maker would know about scaling.

    Thanks again for all the good work you do. Sincerely, Jesse Larsen


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