The largest pearl in the world was ruined when the shell was boiled open
– Prose note to Paterson, William Carlos Williams
‘Yes, yes, the salty Pleiades,
Language under your knuckles,
But there were hundreds of us.’
Toes deep, Tom, at the bottom of the fall;
Collecting dirt deep down in Paterson.
Sedimented grain by grain,
Echoes battered in the river bed among
Citizen body parts;
The eyes of Sam Patch, an ear from the Reverend’s wife.
For Pearls of the Passaic.
She squats, ladylike under thundering;
A cool American at four hundred
Grams just kissing Tom Carson’s big toe.
This was Solomon’s strong jaw
At long last witched by boiling,
Loosened with screaming.
Lips split under Tom’s duress
And then the thing achieved:
Elfish light leaking out
To dead verb.
‘That’ll show him,
And the other ninety nine.’
Hunting the Passaic for things.
Eyes wide, Tom, toes deep.
Remember where you step.
I think there is thought in a thing Tom,
I am young but I watch my step.