Sea Snails on a Black Chow’s Tongue: Or, a Castaway’s Poems in a Bottle

At the conclusion of Keith Harvey’s novel, “Cave Gossip,” the protagonist recites an aphorism: being in being is. “Sea Snails on a Black Chow’s Tongue” explores the meaning of this aphorism. The poems in this collection, then, deal with man’s basic aloneness in being; a castaway, if you will, in his own existence.

He sat and read
his primal poems
on a wooden stool
carved from pine.
His lips purpled
as he scanned
primordial words
and his tongue
like a chow’s.