GennaRose Nethercott

The Sea God Dreams of Land

Neptune canters through the vegetable patch

unfollowed. He plucks a radish from soil,

​lets it float in the ocean of his palm
before pocketing. You will not find this

​in myth books. He made sure of it.
This is the moment he shivers

​free, snips the waters from his heels,
steals onto the turf bit-less & unbridled. 

Come midnight, when the farmer is bedded,
Neptune seizes the field in spoonfuls.

​Little hurricane, little flood, playing
at dryness. Sometimes, Neptune prays

that his flanks might lose their damp.
They won’t. Instead, he does what he can

​to feel earthen—fills his pockets
with sweet potato, ginger, parsnip, & beets.

Holds a rutabaga to moonlight for study
like a beetle or a stamp or a two-headed coin.

​Hides carrots & celery in his coat lining.
As he digs, nettles brand his wrists

hot as a jellyfish sting. Soon, the sun will rise.
Soon, the God of the Well must return

​to his burden— drowning ships, polishing
the sea hoary as an axe blade,

breathing song into whale bellies,
all the while yearning for land. Until then,

​he will carve beets with a paring knife.
​Redden his hands. Revel in the dirt on his knees.

GennaRose Nethercott is a poet, playwright, performer, and folklorist from the woodlands of Vermont. Her recent work has appeared or is forthcoming in Rust + Moth, Cleaver, Axolotl, Freeze Ray Poetry, and others. Her poem “Departures” won the 2014 Holland Park Press poetry competition. She serves as the poetry editor at Mount Island Magazine. She knows more about shape shifters than she does about being a person. 

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