DaVinci was convinced that the tide was the breath of a beast
he could not see.
It swamped your sandy house in the super storm,
washed your grandfather up on the wrack line,
pulled under the heavy mood of the mother
you barely knew as she tried to stay afloat.
You wish you were born part tide
and rise above these anxious seas. I will take what you love,
it sings, pressing you
so little, so little, pressing you to rise and fall, rise and fall.
What the tide wants from you, you do not want to give.
Galileo felt in its movement the movement of the Earth, moving him
that the Earth is not the center of the Earth, moving him
under house arrest until he died.
When you dove into the Mediterranean, it rocked you against a crag
that rose out of that wild sea
as if it too, needed to breathe. Breathe. It opened your wounds
sinew, muscle, nerve, memory, shame—
The tide continued to roil Galileo’s imagination.
Imprisoned in his home, he looked at the stars for confirmation
until he went blind.
Peter E. Murphy was born in Wales and grew up in New York where he managed a night club, operated heavy equipment and drove a taxi. Author of eleven books and chapbooks of poetry and prose, his work has appeared in The Common, Diode, Guernica, Hippocampus, The New Welsh Review, Philadelphia Stories, Rattle, and elsewhere. He is the founder of Murphy Writing of Stockton University in Atlantic City.