Incantation (For a Sea Change)

by Jamie Baty

The earth beneath my feet is speaking,
Calling to me in a language I no longer remember.

The earth that whispers at my feet,
Whose wrinkles form roots and concrete cracks and
Whose curled-up weeping spills in steady sewers of grief.

This earth beneath my garden that squeezes ever newer
Ever brighter miracles
Out through its pores,
That presses cold against my feet in early spring,
And breathes out wild chervil clouds in summer.

That earth, fevered brow pressing out the moulds of the hills,
Sickness slipping through your trepanned skull.
That earth, whose trembling arms are the sea and whose hollow chest
Is the sky in which we rattle like dry beads.

That earth that whispers at my feet –

And moss presses up through the cracks like tongues,
              everywhere its fine fur is pouring up to cover
              cars bicycles balconies swimming pools around our legs
              and all our sounds are muffled by the breathing green
              that goes on rising well above our mouths and slows
              slows our bodies until blood moves thick as sap
              and planes hang there suspended

we have paused

and like a word unsaid we feel the moss restoring

knitting water into ice

stretching roots from lumber

and dyeing leaves a deeper green

until the first snow shows through the moss
and the first branches, the hairs of the first head

until a pulse returns, as before but slower
and a spot of green on a fallen tree

conducts each rising breath.