Penelope Weiss

The Sea Will Remember

If I was a donkey once,
if I was a macaw or a parrot,

if I sang basso profundo,
if I danced with the devil,

if I built the Tower of Babel,
if I brought down the Twin Towers,
I don’t remember.

If I dream of paradise,
if I survive this torture,
I won’t remember.

Who will remember?
The sea around this island,
the sea will remember.

Giants of Old

Two giants met on the prairie one Sunday.
Bison stepped slowly across the horizon,
careless of giants and spiders.

How soft your skin is, said one giant
to the other (she was my great grandmother).

How hard your eyes are, said the second giant
to the first one (he was my great grandfather).

They thrust their hands into the prairie
(they had very sharp fingernails)
and brought up boiling mud and stones.

They sat on the ground and ate snakes whole, raw.
They sharpened their teeth on snake skins,
crunched the stones in their mouths like potatoes.

On Sundays I dream of going out on the prairie,
to eat snakes whole, raw and crunch stones in my mouth.
But I never do.

At the Gate

Look out your window.
Tortoises are at the gate.
Thousands, maybe more.

They have been walking
for decades, even longer,
maybe centuries.

Their shells are lovely.
Sometimes they hide their faces.
No one knows their fate.

What keeps them going?
A mass of pink sky hovers
at the edge of hope.

Penelope Weiss grew up in New York City and now lives in Shrewsbury, Vermont. Storiana, her collection of stories, was published in 2010 by Casa de Snapdragon Publishing and is available on Amazon.
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