Elegy for One More Creature Gone from Our Small Sea

Rich Ives

                    after Catullus and Donald Justice

Tear then and rend your garments, damp maidens,
for golden Chubby is dead, leapt from the very humours
that kept him afloat, to the warm jealous air where
nothing watery breathers value could sustain,
unclaimed, such a creature of dart and thrust
with no trust in the medium of wings or even
things with limbs, either stationary or mobile,
things unable to both drink and breathe the same
tamed sustaining medium. Damnation, but
that brave wet boy was loved and will be still
under the earthen waves and the peonies bending
to lend their curious heads petal by fading petal to
the infinitesimal failure of his element to simply be there
where scales measure the distances pleasure to pleasure.

Rich Ives has received grants and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, Artist Trust, Seattle Arts Commission and the Coordinating Council of Literary Magazines for his work in poetry, fiction, editing, publishing, translation and photography. His writing has appeared in Verse, North American Review, Massachusetts Review, Northwest Review, Quarterly West, Iowa Review, Poetry Northwest, Virginia Quarterly Review, Fiction Daily and many more. He is the 2009 winner of the Francis Locke Memorial Poetry Award from Bitter Oleander. His story collection, The Balloon Containing the Water Containing the Narrative Begins Leaking, was one of five finalists for the 2009 Starcherone Innovative Fiction Prize. In 2010 he has been a finalist in fiction at Black Warrior Review and Mississippi Review and in poetry at Cloudbank and Mississippi Review. In 2011 he is again a finalist in poetry at Mississippi Review. The Spring 2011 Bitter Oleander contains a feature including an interview and 18 of his hybrid works.