Drift

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We thought we could fathom the vastness of the sea
from an island’s shallow lap:
we would watch the ships fade from sight and agree that nothing
could survive the fall past the edge of the world.

We did not see how, deep beyond the continental margins, submarine
canyons channeled secret rivers onto underwater plains, or how
the abyssal fish slowly went blind, their unseen lights
speckling the endlessly cavernous dark.

In our sleep we hear
the seabed groan with the weight of all its shipwrecks,
lift its hem, and settle into a hot embrace
around the mantle, the sulfide pools simmering through its cracks
where it presses close to the magma light.

Here I chance upon the sparkling clasp of a coral reef necklace
tracing an invisible line from one atoll to the next.
Following it I leapfrog dashed borders, beginning
to contrive an idea of you
from the contours of these countless coasts.

The geological record says we are five centimetres closer
every year. In geologic time—perhaps,
if you were a reef and I, an archipelago—we’d meet
at a faultline in the next eon and crumble together, leaving
a new continent where we were before.

Today, we stand knee deep in the shoals, losing ships
to the horizon between us. Salt sifts
between our toes.

When you laugh, it almost feels
like those ten million years have already passed.

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