Today's poem is by Charles Douthat

Blue for Oceans

Astonishing that he could forget and forget and remember so.
California for example. The trees for some reason especially.

Leaving but not losing them. Believing he never would.
Then one day finding March and April gone without a thought

for the peeling eucalyptus, the palms leaning long avenues
the hazy, sky-backed timberlines of the Coast Range.

Years later in a stucco house outside Rome he woke again
to the same Yellow-brown light, the dry tile roofs. But the trees

were wrong. Pointed cedars, not aspen or Santa Rosa plum.
Groves of olives, not redwoods. Afterwards, the last clear time

was an evening with his daughter, making a map of the world
out of clay, painting in brown for mountains and blue for oceans,

reading about the scientist who first claimed Africa and America
were once joined. On each side, long-ago animals and jungle birds

watched from trees as a last narrowing isthmus washed away.
For some time after, the gap remained a slight stream

easily forded or even leaped across, one continent to another.
Then years widened the strait and far shores fell away

until only a gull or a seed on a great wind
could cross over the space that was once a world.

Copyright © 2011 Charles Douthat All rights reserved
from Blue for Oceans
New Haven Review Books
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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