Today's poem is by William D. Waltz

Island in Dispute Disappears into the Sea

We’re not so different
that your north is my south
or my anger is your passion fruit.
Until high tide we saluted
the same royal palm leaning
into a full breeze of birds.
We sacrificed our hammers
and our nails and our paddles
to the same hungry gods,
but that didn’t slake their thirst
nor mine for I wanted you
to see the green flash of sunset
and that was only possible
if you truly believed
the sun did set and you know
the stars better than that.
It’s a trick we play on ourselves
like when we paint
constellations on the ceilings.
We see what we know
is not there for fear of falling
from the high ground.
We have communed
with the reef and the volcano,
with the turtle, the clownfish, and the guava tree,
with the angry young parrots and
the blind who live in the caves
and came away saying
we knew the heart of the island,
the hearts and minds of the plants
and animals and slowly like waves
carving beaches out of cliffs,
what we stowed in our amulets,
what made us one, we cleaved in two.
Our dream sunk back into the sea.
We are now ten thousand small canoes
bobbing in the chop. With no compass
and no land in sight, we’ll wait
for the stars to come out tonight.
Tomorrow comes our sorrow
in the sunlight of regret
when we’ll finally have
what we wanted,
a country of our own.

Copyright © 2011 William D. Waltz All rights reserved
from National Poetry Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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