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Norderney Nerves

by Cathy Wittmeyer


Visit Norderney…sooner…for the storms that batter this island are constantly reshaping the landscape.                                                                                                                                                            -


Bring a windbreaker. 

The cool breeze tinted  by iodine intensifies


cold sand on your soles until the breaking rays

blind and burn the glare off a porcelain shoulder 


– take care – 


it is as fragile as the rainbow mussels’ shards

piercing tender feet oblivious to their luminescence. 


Low sweeps and mourning shrieks of gulls

draw the eye to a washed-up Tern stranded


on the basalt Buhne headless, and to a misty white

that disappears where obsidian rolls out choppy. 


This is neap tide when pulls of celestial bodies

work against each other.  Seagulls tossed


in reverse-glides upward,  resign to new aims;                                                      

sand, like blizzard ice, pelts skin, chafes;


and grass whips chaste flesh, smarting, drawing blood.

Inky black spills into the milky turmoil of white caps


like salt abrading my lips as we dash behind

saddened glass that pleads to come inside too


 – knocking      – pounding      - whining. 


An enveloping dome of charcoal-blue frames flags

held back by violent boyfriends they cannot escape


no matter how fast they run.  And the bluster

abruptly stops with the warm return of Sun.


I brought you to the sea today to calm our nerves

didn’t consider the island weather’s temperament.

Cathy Wittmeyer is not the poet-mother-engineer-lawyer-conservationist living in the Alps; she is the one experiencing life through the pen, hands, eyes, ears and heart of that body living on this speck of a planet. Her poems have appeared in Noble Gas Quarterly, Ithaca Literary Journal and upcoming in CatheXis Northwest Press. She is completing her MFA at Carlow University.


May 2019

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