Alan Shapiro, “Low Tide”

So you thought you had a small footprint…

Low Tide

On the mud flats
where I’m walking
each step pushes the wet
out from beneath it
to a dry halo

of a heel and toe
which as I lift it
dampens to
a trail of pools
behind me as I walk—

I make them all
along the flats and
when I circle back
they flash like lakes
seen from a plane

my body could be
the shadow of, inching
across the continent
down below, inside
of which invisibly

between the sand grains
in the infinitesimal
capillary spaces
closing and opening
under my steps are

creatures too small
to see or name
for whom each grain’s
another land mass,
a different continent,

which makes the water
rushing in as my foot lifts
another ocean rushing out
as my foot falls,
so that wherever I go

quakes and floods,
subductions and extinctions
on a scale too
miniscule to register
go with me—over

the mudflats happy
and thoughtless like
a leper without his bell,
wandering the world
meaning no harm.

The Hopkins Review
Fall 2014


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Filed under Poetry, Poets

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