Friday, September 9, 2011

They Will Take My Island

by Camille Martin

They will take my island
to ukulele seas where mist
coalesces into plump petals laced
with leftover dew. I imagine already
hearing their cantabile veering off
the chart into succulent winds. They make
me believe that, and that’s what I mean
by “they,” though we haven’t yet
been formally introduced. I try
to make contact by floating a corked bottle
of cockles and musty pages toward
a cartoon etched in my brain of a ragged
man marooned on a neighbouring
island poring over a treasure map.
They patiently acknowledge
my attempt. I’m hopelessly late
scanning the horizon, so here’s
where I have to dig. But what island?
In what sea? Which me pumps the treadle
that spins the gears that keep the stars
mentally wheeling across the big clock?

They’re already inside my head. And this
is what I know: I exaggerate
their finessed vision, their exploded view
of every grain of sand. Such compliant
metaphors, these grains on which I blindly
circle along the mundane fractals
of my shoreline toward shape-shifting
constellations. My island is trained
in the arts of prisoners dragging red herrings
to dead ends and splashing through the middle
of creeks to throw off the dogs that never
evolved here anyway. They know that.
I eavesdrop on their chatter fathoms
under distant fishing boats. By the light
of my remaining candles I carve
tools from native trees as wax puddles
on the volcanic rock that shaped
my island. They will take my island
to that melted wax.