Sea Smoke / Euphemisms

Kelly R. Samuels

What you say is isn’t. For this is no sea.
Though deep, deeper than any fresh water we know of,
still not deep as.

Nor smoke, no. Not that which catches in the lungs and
burns our eyes. That smote we try to rub out, looking petulant
& sullen as we used to.

Why call what isn’t this?  Wish?
Far from salty basin,    dreams? And from what only
wets our skin and dries – does not remain, pungent, in our hair, that
smell of wood fire that brings us back to something:
the blackening of marshmallow, pop & hiss.

You say, He passed away last winter.
When the ground was too frozen to dig and he had to wait, or:
his body had to wait to be placed there.
And there was no closure for you until.

You say, She fell off the back of a truck.
When she’s not there with you at the dinner party
where the seat to your left remains empty and the host
hurriedly removes the plate & the knife & the fork &
the spoon and, lastly, the napkin, white as fresh snow.

This – what they call sea smoke – is filmed in this season,
curling & retreating from shore, light banking and then
splintering and then
blinding from behind.