Patrick Pfister is the author of two books of travel literature: Pilgrimage: Tales from the Open Road and Over Sand & Sea. His work has been selected for several Traveler's Tales anthologies, including Best Travel Writing 2007. His short stories appear in literary magazines such as International Quarterly, Fifth Wednesday Journal and Alimentum. His poetry has been published in Pearl, Juked, Chiron Review, flashquake, Tipton Poetry Journal and elsewhere. For the last twenty years he has lived in Barcelona, Spain.
You Rid the Sea
You rid a sea
of waves but now the depths
rise and swallow the earth
beneath your feet.
Down into darkness you go
down deep into cathedral caves,
your spark so faint
your X-rayed lungs so ghostly white.
I call you back
to Mokolo barrio, in Yaoundé city,
where seven African Buddhists
chant for your health.
I call you back to this world
of garbage houses and cesspool lives,
where children are born to beg,
then beg to be reborn.
You rid a sea
of torrent but now undertow
swirls the nether drain—
I call you back one more time.
All that can go wrong, does—
except for love, which cannot—
but gone the brown wonder in your eyes,
gone the laughter that rattled your bones.
A syringe pushes one thousand milligrams
of light into your pinched vein,
closing your eyelids over my heart.
Down, down you go.
I call back your nectar sweetness,
vowing not to look.
I call you back.
You rid a sea.