Cleveland State University Poetry Center

Sum of Every Lost Ship by Allison Titus

Sum of Every Lost Ship
poems by Allison Titus

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This debut collection of poems is both fascinated with and distracted by our impending endings and leave-takings, the loneliness of animals, and “how the histories of things eat.” These poems populate empty parking lots and seaside pawnshops and depart from a port at Deadhorse, Alaska. A narwhal gives cryptic advice to those requiring guidance on eulogies, arctic travel, and extracting minerals from ghosts. Allison Titus presents us with quiet meditations on how absence often remains fixed as longing, a red thread knotted at the wrist.

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Sum of every lost ship, minus its apology

The sea has nothing to say about salt. The bird and its feathers;
the plum and its skin. Even the hairs in the horsehair comb quiver
unmechanic. Even the shore retreats.
I might as well say it:  Behind every blue dress is an ocean.
For each water molecule a catastrophe of satin.
I was a pilgrim charged with fishing doll eyes
from the bottom of the sea. An impossible task
for which there must be some equation,
another way to say         Electrolyte is to cell
as rust is to blood.    What unit of measurement
besides fathom. Because the river forgets nothing.
Not tourniquets or letters, not gloves not cakes.
By the edge of slipping shore I lower the nets. I wait.
These days everything is easier to forgive.