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[Poetry] Two Poems by Lucie Chou

The Odyssey of 7000 Plastic Ducks


Big blue

built burgeoning

towers of clouds, hurtled

hurricanes, smashed massive

muscular ramparts of water down

on oblong Trojan horses stalled aboard

warships wrestling with salty vehemence

to soothe humanity’s small aches: this once

for kids in bubble baths to squeeze and squeal.

One sudden onslaught of attack smithereened

the wooden flanks and scattered us all. Like

soldiers leaping off airplanes, we began our

buoyant fall upwards, bubbling, babbling

mere sounds of sea-water from our blub

lips of glossed luscious tangerine. We

broke water, wobbled as if reborn,

began our second epic journey, this time

the ocean’s, its big blue’s interconnected

motions, its vortices and volutes of emotions,

its chaotic commotions. We are a plastic army made

by semi-automatons armed with abused humans having

no allegiance to their abusers. We are recommissioned to land

upon far-flung littorals. We are corpuscles in the colossal blood

currents of the world. We circulate, spiraling the big blue’s bound-

less brain. Our yellow constellations on the azure expanse another

kind of magnetic rose. We are where those who manufactured our

plastic molecules can never be—far out at sea, seeing, feeling, and

undergoing sea change, schooled by the sea’s thinking in

livestream. If ever finding themselves in our predicament

they are doomed to die. We, customized by them to be

lifeless, are cells living inside ocean’s life. Witness

to ocean life: canopies of kelp forests, seafowls

eating after whales, bottle-nosed dolphins

doing loops. We head north to dying

ice or ashore with bleached corals.

We sleep with a Scottish child.

 

 

 

 

Walking Shoreward

 

Because the day breaks

blue and clear,

the seashore nearing

 

is a widening sash of glimmer.

Gulls laugh, glide, bellies bulged,

wings arched, alabaster.

 

I am rounding Buchanan Street.

Behind Berkeley Rose Garden

and Flower Mountain Monastery,

 

the sun is eastering, streaks

of phoenix flower and rosebay sucking

light from rosemary.

 

I think of yesterday, a sunflower

in winter, bowed but blooming.

The sun springs proud

 

of its power to arouse

everything: wild alyssum,

small yellow mustard, sea fig’s

 

fiery fingers praying in sand,

bladder parsnip’s delicate umbels

dry on tall bony shanks, blue-

 

frosted creeping cypress,

slanted pines’ hair hissing, swirling

inland. At low tide the soft, deep mud

 

glistens and emits a characteristic

—and not generally appreciated—

odor. Across gravel trails, marshes

 

are pitched into denser shadow

by slowly spilling splendor.

Chilly teeth of the littoral

 

landscape, glittering, bite deep.

Tidal breath brushes inland

ears raw to hear afresh. Marine

 

meters make lines without beginning

or end, falling or rising, dactyl

or iamb a sheer reef worn to nothing

 

by pulses of body and mind

tuned to the lengthening, shortening,

never breaking line, caesuras

 

not silence but sound

cutting into new timber:

widgeons, western sandpipers

 

chanting their own names

into new words. Plump-breasted

waders on promontories

 

popple passementeried wings.

Breaths of divers in and out of waves,

of bikers and runners sweeping

 

their tailwinds into the vast sanguine

wind of morning. Dogs, unleashed,

breathe freer. Short-haired sleek pelts

 

undulate as paws stamp paw-shaped

pools the tide, leaping further each time,

proceeds to fill with water, then silt.

 

To the east an eucalyptus

blooming creamy-spoked wheels

darkens to a shriveled silhouette

 

against the first fireball

of real sunrise, not preamble,

not smoldering foreplay, but

 

one opening chord that deafens

listening to a positive perception

of quiet. I hold up my phone

 

to take a picture of whiffled

marshland, monumental tree, azure

expanse and platinum portal

 

to the empyrean, but my vision

is invisible, swallowed by the sun.

The bay wakes behind

 

weeds, silt, birds and roads

and frets its cerulean

satin spreads with quickgold.

 

 

Lucie Chou is a young ecopoet whose work explores the ecotone between multispecies entanglements, spirituality and the magic power of language. Her poems have been published or are forthcoming in Entropy, the Black Earth Institute Blog, the Tiny Seed Journal, and the Ekphrastic Review. The poem “Holy Green, Sweet-Smelling” was included in Plant Your Words Anthology by Tiny Seed Press. Her debut poetry collection, Convivial Communiverse, came out from Atmosphere Press in 2023. She lives, reads and writes in mainland China.




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