A Poem by Erika Funkhouser
From the book "Natural Affinities" (1983)
On a morning when we’re fastened
to the worst that falls
between us, I take a boat
and row out to the starfish
strewn upon their searock
as if tossed down by an archer
who found better gloves to wear.
Body upon body
flattened by wave-press,
the brown and purple stars
cling to each other in heaps;
the opposite of a Japanese garden,
where a few enduring stones
suggest the significance
of time and distance.
I can’t decide if the stars are happy.
They’re layered deep
from the tide-torn surface
down to their feast of barnacles.
You couldn’t map them from the air
or lay them end to end to count them.
Their hunger crowds them down,
exhaustion intertwined with will.