At the edge of the ocean,
perhaps the only ocean,
you wheeze recollection
and hope into your lungs.
You have been led here
to the edge of this ocean
by the smell of salt.
The water is warm over your toes,
warmer than expected;
perhaps that is a good sign.
You turn away,
lift your chest as best you can
and raising flimsy arms, wail
one more time, a long,
hollow cry that breaks no heart.
You count the usual number
of unclocked minutes, then smile
at the familiar blank reply
freeing you to proceed.
It has been a very long time
since you had access to books
to tell you what to hold to,
what to love, what to hate,
what to respect and what to despise*
but you are no longer lost and confused.
You kneel, dig your fingers
into the sand around you
for a sting, a snap, a hop perhaps
but there is none.
Like a child, you lean on your hands
and pull yourself upright, like a child,
unburdened by shame, you turn back
to face your ocean; you are
what the world was known as; you,
it has all come down to you.
*From the last page of Dostoevsky’s Notes From Underground
Angela Consolo Mankiewicz has published 4 chapbooks, the most recent are AN EYE, published by Pecan Grove Press and AS IF, from Little Red Books-Lummox.
Publications include: Poets/Artists, Full of Crow, Long Poem Magazine (UK), PRESA, Montserrat, Re)Verb, Sketchbook, Seldom Nocturne, Istanbul Literary Review, Arsenic Lobster, Temple/Tsunami, Butcher Block, Slipstream, Chiron Review, Hawaii Review, Cerberus, Karamu, Lynx Eye, Pemmican, Blind Man’s Rainbow, ArtWord. Other recognitions include 2 Pushcart nominations, 1st and Grand Prizes from Off the Coast, Hammers, Trellis Magazine JerseyWorks, Amelia.
Her childrens’ stories, THE GRUMMEL BOOK, have been reissued on CD by SHOOFLY; LAURA HANSON, a novella was serialized by ESC!Magazine in 2008. She has also been the Contributing Editor and Regional Editor, respectively, for the small (now defunct) journals Mushroom Dreams and The New Press Quarterly.
Last May, her chamber opera, ONE DAY LESS, music by D. Javelosa, was performed at the Broad 2nd Space in Santa Monica, CA.