The Peninsula as Divorcee

Written By: A. C. Stinton

The Eastern Shore of Maryland
Heaven and earth have never agreed better
to frame a place for man’s habitation.
-from Captain John Smith’s journal

Our animosity is waves breaking, jagged breadth
of bay laid between us like a dagger.
Thirty million years we slept in separate beds,
before men in their longboats came suturing
words into our turned backs.  Hardy.  Bountiful.  As if
we could regrow the very plot
eroding us, even if a little, year by year.
Others came caked in mustache glue.  Seeing
the angry stalemate of our grief, they charted depths,
plotted courses, measured wind––
to come and go without foundering.
Their maps advanced over time until
an ultrasound rendering (feckless evidence!)
went quick in the eyes of the jury.
The judge’s gavel swung in favor of my husband,
in favor of commerce and government.
Within eyesight of my sunken shores, they built him a city;
me, a bridge to deliver alimony.

I sweat another summer of boardwalk fries.
Another cell tower like a notch in my spine.
Come soft spring, the geologist probes the length of me,
all business and latex gloves.  He lingers in marsh,
eyeing a moated spit of land just beyond.
His report claims the need to reinforce such islets,
that they are integral breakwaters. . . .
What he doesn’t know is that each is yet another
miscarried angling of bygone love.
Half-formed, unready, clotting these waters, they were
first loss; last to leave.

A.C. Stinton

A.C. Stinton was born on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, where he attended Washington College, winning its 2014 Sophie Kerr Prize for his poetry.

He was featured on NPR’s All Things Considered with Robert Spiegel.  An interview and poems are forthcoming in The Poet’s Billow.