» Poetry

Two Poems

Rebecca Foust

Ocean Beach

I am not quite thirty again
on a beach under a three-quarter moon
slung low in the sky, stars pricking
darkness & so cold where the tide
rushes in, swirling ankles then knees
& you swooping me up in your arms
like any fantasy of rescue & I’m ravished
in John Donne’s sense of the word
& pretty much every sense
of the word, licked up & down my spine
by freezing flame, slicked wet
like a dog in the rain, every nerve
buzzing bees in a beauty bush June—
it happens every time I return
to memory’s long, low curve of cold sand,
the swallowed surge of a wave,
held breath knocked out & away
into liquefaction & release,
an icicle held in your warm, bare hand.



In a myth from the southern sea
a woman loved a god
in the guise of a bull, or maybe
it was the sea, or maybe
it was a bull made of waves
that came from behind
all muscle & surge
to her knees, waist, chest,
throat, mouth & eyes, then left
with the morning tide.


They say she near died, burned
by sorrow & salt & sun
before she thought to build
a bull of wood she could live
within. For she was also a god
who could drain all she filled
& fill all she drained
like us, who daily dwell
in a world that swallows us whole,
while we take it, holy, inside.


Rebecca Foust

Rebecca Foust's fourth book, Only (Four Way Books 2022), earned a starred review from Publishers Weekly and was recently reviewed by Mark Jarmon in The Hudson Review. Her poems appear in journals including Narrative, POETRY, Ploughshares, and Southern Review, and in 2023 won the New Ohio Review prize and were runner-up for the Missouri Review Editors’ Prize. Past recognitions include the James Hearst, Pablo Neruda, and Poetry International prizes, fellowships at Hedgebrook, MacDowell, and Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and a Marin County Poet Laureateship where Rebecca’s program, “Poetry as Sanctuary,” featured readings by local immigrant poets.