Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Friday, February 4, 2011

A Whole Year Without Drowning

by Bryan Murphy

Houlihan discards his guilt at the water’s edge.
Chill Pacific tentacles tow his ankles in.
He dives below the surf, casts free his past,
takes the salty secretions of Yemenjà into his lungs,
lets her cross-currents tug their war
over the sponge-like carcass he has sloughed.

A pelican swoops at two bodies, veers off.
One moves, rises on unsteady limbs,
drags its fellow beyond the water’s reach,
with hand and mouth, human skill and flattery,
redeems its life from the sea-goddess,
then offers it back to fate
with kicks and blows and unkind blasphemies.

The pelican intuits carrion, yet Houlihan twitches.
The lifeguard has saved the year, Playa Chisme’s first
with no drowning. He has gone to its fiesta.
Houlihan is reborn, into a world of pain.
He cries from every orifice, convulses with cold
and possibilities, crawls among worlds in grains of sand
back to our own.

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