Oyster Boy Review 11  
  April 1999
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» Levee 67



Ann McGarrell

—the sea in the middle of the world
                              amphorae alphabets alabasters
anchovies artifacts
                              bronze amorini and athletes

all these come to shore come to rest alla riva marina
                              riding small waves

far out the fisherman lets down his lines
                              feels the weight of a vase

depicting a blue cat with a grave human face
                              of great beauty, sacred to Isis

stella maris protectress of crops and of vessels puissant goddess
                              return me to the sight of my own people

                              what do the shards say?
Lost encipherings, inventories, checklists, prayers

                              and scandals:
Domitilla likes it or Faustus cretinam est

We keep sifting through flea markets:
                              Arezzo, Gubbio, Roma's Porta Portese,
silted-up Rimini of the lovely linens and Nigerian whores
                              always just missing
something desirable.
                              Have no regrets.
                              Had you bought it
                              it would have left you like quicksilver.
                              At least you have glimpsed us
                              in a broken tile
                              or shimmering votive;
                              in our eyes that insist
                              (dark through bright woodland
                              or over proffered espresso):
                              We are here,
                              we are the known world's limit
                              Do not think you can reach us.