ONLINE BONUS: The Hunger of Tides

DaVinci was convinced that the tide was the breath of a beast

he could not see.

You agree.

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.

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

to love

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

to write

that the Earth is not the center of the Earth, moving him

to live

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

to brine—

sinew, muscle, nerve, memory, shame—

and bone.

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.