“The Physics of Water” by Michael Patrick McSweeney


I'll never fully grasp the physics of water:
the slip of an ocean's arm
beneath the shoulder of another,
the surrender to liquid force,

the crush of motion
that began, as if by impulse,
on the shores of a distant beach
or the lips of reluctant breath.


Waves, like people, struggle to craft their own currents--
they can only brush bottles across oceans,
rotate their arms in breezeless rhythms
and bellow ballads of missed connection.
They roar for eternity, collapse against rocks
but deep beneath their liquid ringlets
waves want to be like the eternal wind
that rises against and beyond
the natural flow of water,
beyond the breezes that meander
in the mists of tropical depressions.
beyond the moon's tug
where they can laugh at desperate tidal waves
while drifting in the company of clouds,
those curvaceous cumulonimbi...
to do this, waves seek the rudders
and spines of cruise liners, supertankers;
they chase hints of movement,
the currents that gather behind fresh canvas sails.


Once, a wave implored:
my love will be more than seawater,
more than white crests.
My love will be the cliff, at my ocean's neck,
that neither seeks nor repels
the earth's erosion.
My love's face will be sculpted
by the fingers of those who rose and fell.


Waves live and die by self-destructive motions
like hands in frantic prayer,
ebbs and collapses in the hunt for gravitational
pulls to brush the hair from their eyes,
to be wanted,
and they will rush
like blood through frantic veins,
numb and directionless like tsunami.
The waves will roar past the beach
and the idle swimmers,
knock aside trees and towns in the name of love and wind--
only to surrender, exhausted,
their sweat fading against the sun-stroked sand,
the layers of water torn away.
Those waves who reach the shore
will be reduced to who they truly are:
molecules that found symbolism
in the blind devotion to currents,
and died knowing
that life is more than flickering schools of inertia
that grow and fade like kisses on a love-drowned face.

Michael Patrick McSweeney is an artist and educator from the Boston region. His work has appeared in numerous journals and various regions of the Internet thanks to truly wonderful individuals. He is also the founder and chief financial officer of a used submarine conglomerate, the business website of which can be found at discountsubmarines.wordpress.com, and he hopes you have a great day.