Another Shining
                    for Marc McKee and Harold Patrick McKee

Dear Atlantic Ocean, this is what rises

and what really falls. The smoke of the dead

and their thin arms holding the bangles

of nightfall. A ratio hidden in a father

or a dog writes its own closure in one speedy

afternoon. Or hasty, or multiplied as if by

severance. This is how I call to you

in different colors: and this, how I call

to you across an entire ocean and back.

The idea, to recreate a distance beyond itself

in order to send it further west. West of center

and west of any terrible feasible circumference.

And in this loudness I add to you, maybe

it will wake in an infant in his mother’s arms.

Brightly, or if by morning. Not mourning

or cacophony. Not sibilance or similitude.

That a baby will be grown in the years you

continue to rage and in which you rage will

rage like highway. Like you, the great Atlantic

Ocean raises in new directions and dimensions

discordant and collapsant to pillars of buildings

built to gods and queens. Today I walked

under an archway Washington walked through

with a legion of his tired troops. Verily I tell

you, in two or twelve weeks he won the war.

We, too, win a war the dead win. Or we

wantonly fail and keep on. Like two remakes

of it all and we choose the latter. We always

choose the latter. Always sing the ocean

to its home, our home, or any home at all.

To Atlantic Ocean 2 I say, Please let us rise.

To Atlantic Ocean 3 I say, Please let us rise and

rise forever like a clumsy teenager in his prime.

Walking up the set of stairs only to be stopped

by a quarterback and his gang of cronies.

Who self-destructs into a field of watery

foam in front of women, teachers, other teens.

A magnificent hero in a dire and delicate time

of things too hard for men to see. And how

we decline to accept this as an ending as we shift

into the higher registers of the wave. And Oh

how we fall short of the utterance. And can’t

we recall the first time a poem made us feel?

The Atlantic and this pen. This ocean, and this

time, the grandeur and Oh this gentle ground.

Our speed, our home, our calling to each corner

of each ocean that doesn’t know our names.

Our hour, our definitely too-long correspondence

to each ocean that doesn’t know our names

yet stills at our thinking of it stilling and calls

as we call across it with our salty hands

in brine and air and motion that is endless.

Dear Atlantic Ocean, entire. Please talk.

“Hello, Marc. Yes, things are fine. Things

are exceedingly fine. It’s so fine to be alive.”

Thank God there are things that work when we

ask them to. And things that don’t

when all we want is to sleep with one smaller

hand in the segmented palm of our larger hand,

one star that proceeds to shine from the light

of our own dimming hand, dark, segmented

and shining, but always in another direction.

Cary Stough is a Literary Arts MFA candidate at Brown University. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Inter|rupture: a journal of poetry and art, Twelfth House, and Heavy Feather Review.