Emily Hockaday

At Talisman, Barrett Beach
Here where the island is narrowest
I come to reconcile myself
with myself. What good
is passion? I watch it do
terrible things through people
every day. The ocean has no room
for passion. It is relentless, all-
consuming, to be relied on for
very little and also much.
Leave me here, let me be
outside. Let me learn to depend
on nothing but my own heartbeat
until that, too, subsides.

To a Former Paramour
I used to move
the oceans and great lakes of
your topography with my
minor gravity, from
a safe distance.
Here, under the bright gibbous moon on Fire Island,
I look at my current partner in the
churning indigo water, fearless.
On the beach a fox
and it’s shadow
streak across the sand to the safety
of the dunes. I hope it has found
something sweet beneath
the wet sand along the shore.
This man does not expect anything
but love. Finally I am out of orbit. I am
my own body traveling freely
with other bodies.
I do not want to say
I was less than you: Less mass, maybe,
less direct, less grabby. I held
you but also pushed you away.

How We Got Here
The winds were rough, and I don’t know
how to sail. I knew the vocabulary:
mast, starboard, beam, cabin, deck . . .
I know the rope, what it is to be knotted,
coiled tightly to protect something
precious, to hang on for dear . . .
But I never learned which is appropriate
in what situation. I understand the concept
of sonar, but the reading of the green
and black screen: another language. Where
did the water take us? I thought I had
no say in the matter. The ocean is
warm and calm and gentle on my skin.

Emily Hockaday is author of three chapbooks: Ophelia: A Botanist’s Guide (Zoo Cake Press), What We Love & Will Not Give Up (Dancing Girl Press), and Starting a Life (Finishing Line Press). Their work has appeared in journals including the North American Review, Spoon River Poetry Review, Amazon’s Day One, Newtown Literary, and most recently Cosmonaut’s Avenue. They can be found on the web at www.emilyhockaday.com and @E_Hockaday.