The albatross is a potent symbol in literature, but as seen here, dead due to the ingestion of a crazy amount of trash, it is an even more potent one.
I am trying to find a poem. I’m suffering badly from PMS today and can’t retreat as there are things and people to tend to, but I want to put some of the thoughts down anyway.
I know it’s dark as it is, but that’s the nature of these things, isn’t it?
We fall into habits, and sometimes out.
A kiss before leaving every morning, at first spontaneous,
thrown lovingly my way, a gentle peck on the cheek.
That was then, the old marriage, and somewhere along the line,
the kisses stopped coming.
I mourned each kiss then,
but it’s not something that can be brought back
once someone chooses to withdraw it.
After days of wearing each other out,
winding and waiting after another fight
in the new marriage,
a gesture: a hot water bottle filled and warm in his spot
for when he comes to bed.
We are gentle now, delicate and wary,
and when he says he will know the state of my love
by whether the bottle is there,
remembering the old leavings.
He is teasing and present and means to hold me.
But I think, the gestures cannot become things that we must do;
they cannot be something owed,
to prove love is still there.
The gestures change, and it is right that they do.
Yet they become messages, signs, roads toward or away;
they cannot help but become so,
weighted as they are in the rituals of familiarity.
As I lie tucked into the warm spaces
of a shared bed and love,
this is what I wonder about the albatross,
dead and rotting with trash spilling from its guts:
Which was the piece that killed it,
and how did it feel to swallow each one before it,
taut and sharp with its bright plastic poison?
Is it fortitude that keeps it seeking more?
Or folly to keep foraging when inside,
hard and pinching warnings shift and slide?