It will be windy for a while until it isn’t. The waves will shoal. A red-legged
cormorant will trace her double along glassy water, forgetting they are hungry.
The sea will play this motif over and over, but there will be no preparing for it
otherwise. Water will quiver in driftwood. Sound preceding absence,
a white dog trailing a smaller one: ghost and noon shadow, two motes
disappearing into surf. And when the low tide comes lapping and clear, the curled
fronds of seaweed will furl and splay, their algal sisters brushing strands
against sands where littleneck clams feed underwater. Light rain will fall
and one cannot help but lean into the uncertainty of the sea. Bow: a knot
of two loops, two loose ends, our bodies on either side of this shore where we
will dip our hands to feel what can’t be seen. Horseshoe crabs whose blue
blood rich in copper will reach for cover, hinged between clouds and
sea. It will never be enough, the bull kelp like a whip coiling in tender hands,
hands who know to take or be taken, but take nothing with them: I will marry you.
I will marry you. So we can owe what we own to every beautiful thing.

Diana Khoi Nguyen, “Vow.” Copyright © 2019 by Diana Khoi Nguyen. Used by permission of the author for PoetryNow.
Source: PoetryNow (2019)
More Poems by Diana Khoi Nguyen