Lesley Wheeler

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Côte Sauvage

Although the borderland is stony
    and slicked by vivid seaweed,
        the old man walks again without a cane—
his silhouette disrupts the glare.
    No use shouting. Parents and children
        never hear each other. Or
they pick up the faintest
    impatient huff. Blackout
        yields to voice as randomly
as suns broadcast their flares.

    This terrain’s all surf and precipice.
        Mirror pools bristle with mussels.
Generations break into foam around
    boulders. Ahead, an absolute Atlantic.

        But a limestone cliff at our backs
reflects the roar, as if we stand
    within a shell whose whorls affirm
        each listener's inner ocean. Touch
the wall and feel a bass-line throb.

    And there's my son, leaning into
        this green noise. Locked mollusk.
My daughter’s magnetic waves assail me.
    Gods and fathers rarely signal,
        but rock vibrates
sympathetically. What else
    could it say? Echo
        a kind of love, of
parley.

___________
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