Muriel Nelson


Spell Check

Do you think we wind ourselves and run our little lives
around the sun? (Daylight’s string saving theory? Hot star’s
baseball dream?) But then at night, we see the rival
suns light up themselves unwinding away. What runs us?

One (a shifty pronoun) once said shiny knobs
his hand on one are sexy. What’s this do? He turned
it on. And me?
I watched (a blind date). Big mistake.

And not my first. Yes! I need practice. Let’s go err.
Come counter clockwise with me. Mix up big and little
hands, our digits, the moon’s digits, the sun’s. Let’s open
shutters (why f-stop?), four-arm two-headed shadows, darken

dials with two-backed beastliness: Let’s double (over
and over) our negatives. Come silhouette a spell with me.
As long as you and I are human we can fly
west. Come. Shoot yourself and me against the sun.


The Pacific Coast
           Eppur si muove [But it still moves]
                         – Galileo, after his trial

Nothing’s pacific.
Water boils high, apparently unwatched,
with beach nearly gone, trees overboard, and
suds everywhere from stone-washing’s wild commotion.
Roads soak and tilt, shored up,
and log rolling’s in

Well, who’s in charge?
That cheesecloth scrap in the sky?
Night fell when day’s eye fell asleep
and sandpipers zoomed fast forward, then banked
(disappeared). In the dark now, waves crash
in, though tide’s going out, they say. How
peaceful it would be to believe

the sun’ll come up,
birds’ll be back, the world’s still
without end, and words we say will stay. Amen.

But words move. And paths underfoot wash away. Galileo
bowed — not to the pope, though so he thought. Nothing’s
pacific. Life moves. That’s life. And life’s that
which can unsay.