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The Wine-Dark Sea

Knowing suffering
is a liturgy.

Knowing the eyeless
we grow more eyes.

Just think: your
own hand
is always awake.

I want to show you
what I saw
in the glass
where there is no longer
any glass.

Let’s keep everything
like a calendar clotted
with nests.


The Wine-Dark Sea

Lay me down
in a bed full
of rain.

So close to the river
the trucks & insects

In the river
I’d be a difference.

Beneath the bridge,
an orange plastic bag
wedged into the stones.

In the river
I could be
a catalog.

Lay me down
on the ceasing moon,
this morning.


The Wine-Dark Sea

The other one,
the supposing,
impersonal as diagnosis,
waits in scratches
on the shiny steel.

First there is not enough water
& then too much.

The day eternal
& then a fly
buzzing the window’s glass.

The asphalt spills
into the caesura.

The whole mess
like an abnormal winter.

I live toward that.


The Wine-Dark Sea

To begin, water.

My bleached bones
studded with gemstones.

I vanish as I appear.

My first teacher
was a burning.

I change skins.
It is a nursery.

I see my father

in the moment
of his death.

I see the settling
of the blood
beneath the skin.

I see the sun
in his chest.

For me to live something
has to die.

My mother in white.
I open my mouth

& gravel spills out.  


Mathias Svalina is the author of one collection of poems, Destruction Myth (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2009), five chapbooks & five collaboratively chapbooks, four of them written with Julia Cohen. He also has a hybrid-novella forthcoming, I Am A Very Productive Entrepreneur (Mud Luscious Press, 2011). With Zachary Schomburg he co-edits the online poetry journal Octopus Magazine and the small press Octopus Books. He lives in Denver, Colorado.