The Golden Hinde

By Devin Johnston b. 1970 Devin Johnston
On Christmas Day, Kathleen and I
propel a raft with plastic spoons
through the hissing fur of surf,
             stirring as we go
             an Alka-Seltzer sun.

We pass Bolinas-Stinson School,
the fire house, and Smiley's dive;
extinguished geodesic domes
             along the mesa road
             where Cream Saroyan lives.

With a telescope, my sister spies
the erstwhile chemist of Argonne
who left his post to polish glass.
             As penance, he engraves
             a glyph of hydrogen

on the blank face of every cliff
from Monterey to Inverness.
Beside us, cormorants describe
             the chop in grunts, then plunge
             through thirty feet of grease.

I try to hold my breath as long
and cheat or fail. As evening comes
we pass the final spit of land.
             Once more around the Horn
             and then we'll make for home.

Source: Poetry (December 2007).


This poem originally appeared in the December 2007 issue of Poetry magazine

December 2007
 Devin  Johnston


Born in Canton, New York, Devin Johnston grew up in Winston-Salem and received his PhD from the University of Chicago.

Johnston is the author of several collections of poetry, including Sources (2008), a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, Aversions (2004) and Telepathy (2001). His prose writing includes the critical study Precipitations: Contemporary American Poetry as Occult Practice (2002) and Creaturely and . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Relationships, Home Life, Social Commentaries, Cities & Urban Life

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

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