Samuel Salerno – Three Poems


 The Seas Of Europa

There is life under ice.
There are creatures
so far below the surface
they are illuminated.

I want to move in a covered ocean.
I want to sail waters.
It is your hand on the rigid oar.
It is the leading edge of a blade through grass.

When I was a child
the Pacific carried me away.
I drew a long breath and
fought the rip tide until dusk.

I was in another world,
a parallel pale rider on breakers.
The salt tasted heavy and drunk.
The rocks were razors on my shins.

This world caressed my flanks
And I rode her to the ends of the earth.
Now, the time of revealing,
now the time a god goes limp.


Holding Spaces

You can trust your feet along the path.
The song the starling sings is just for you.
The world has learned to move with you.

Leave a child in the sandbox—
There are more voices sounded by
wind in the trees than a stadium of cheers.

When we come to a river,
let the child step in if it isn’t too deep.
Their arms are fins, and they will swim.

I shouted when I taught.
I was in love with my own voice
and forgot to honor silence.

Words should be a haven.
If you have been traveling,
let these poems be an oasis.

What greater joy can there be
than to wash a man’s feet?
One retreats and becomes a king.

We are creating circles, dervishes dancing,
It is the spaces between our actions
that create sanctuaries.

I will hold this space for you
I honor the road you take
and light a candle to celebrate.


Night Train

Beyond the wheels,
I love you.

Beyond the clear stars,
I love you.

We are here;
you write your life.

You are my friend:
your life has meaning.

Nothing will ever leave us.
The rain is perennial.

I am becoming with you;
There is no end to love.

How many suns cross the desert?
How many lives cross ours?

Succulents in the garden,
we hide in city crowds.

We are parts of a whole:
dominoes—riders on a night train.


Author’s Statement on Beauty

I think the mind creates its world. It houses the keys to form. The museum is not an actual place but a context of memory, association, and intense focus.  Beauty is the spirit level that reminds us we are alive.  It is the language by which we talk with world. It is our only sight–it is our only speech.  When one says “beautiful” one means it is not merely the form, but the connection of every moment that brought that delight to its surface.


Samuel Salerno is a teacher and musician in California. His work has appeared in The Wayfarer, Catamaran Literary Review, and A Clean Well-Lighted Place.