Meditation at Five Islands

There is no help for it after all,
nothing to keep one’s unlived lives
from dragging their heavy chains
along the bottom of the sea,
full fathom five and so forth.
The heart wants what it wants,
which is everything. The brine
air and the hundred-year firs
and the secret music cupped
in the polished nothing of a shell.
There is no way to feel in the hand
the solid mass of the life one has
lived, to know what it is. There is
only the walk down to the shore
and the stones held in the palm,
and only the sea to look to, as far
as one can, which is only so far.

Dave Lucas is a PhD candidate in English at the University of Michigan and the author of Weather, a book of poems. He lives in Cleveland, Ohio.