Sestina To The Sea

By Teris Ivan Winkler

Pounding the docks for a boat on which to work,
I can smell kelp, diesel oil, and rotting jellyfish
caught in the on-board nets.  Such things
are what draws me to this jagged
and battered coastal town.  Like the salmon I seek,
I’m drawn to my demise, in search of rebirth.

Others follow Buddha or Christ for rebirth,
and for some, any of these may truly work.
But for me it’s a salty salvation I seek.
An animal, I taste the sea in the air.  Like a fish,
I taste life in the sea.  I see myself in the jagged
rocks as well; victim to all the cruel harsh things

life on land has to offer.  The sea washes these things
from my shoulders and skin, inducing a birth
of  peace.  Even when her surface is jagged
peaks and wind screams through her valleys, she works
to sooth my soul.  When my mood grows bitter and selfish,
her storms are the solace I seek.

Many fear the alien world they cannot see
beneath the sea’s changing skin.  A world of things
that need no air, that need no light.  Crazy fish
that glow, like some angelic afterbirth.
Needless to say, for them the sea cannot work
to mend their souls.  Her touch would seem jagged,

as city streets are to me.  A skyline, jagged
against the setting sun is beautiful, but I’ve seen
the sky turn to fire as I worked
to harvest the sea’s precious fruit.  Cities are made of things
that were never alive; never sprouted, never born,
merely conceived and built.  Simple, grand, even foolish

sometimes, but never alive.  In cities humans flourish
like insects, stacking themselves on one another under jagged
roofs, only to be consumed by the system they were born
from.  It is money over enlightenment that they seek;
satisfaction over happiness.  The sounds of the city sting
my ears and the air burns my eyes.  What is it worth

to put up with such things when I know how to smooth the jagged
edges of my soul?  My survival, like that of a fish, it seems,
is dependent on the sea.  Everything about her is my salvation;
                                                                             my rebirth.