Leveler Poetry Journal
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Waiting to Surface

Rebecca Doverspike

Waiting to Surface: levelheaded


With the internal rhymes “two blue” and “unite light,” the first line of Rebecca Doverspike’s “Waiting to Surface” offers the first taste of this week’s sonic delight. The assonance of “inside” and “untied” a line later harps back to the second perfect rhyme of line one. Visually, “untied” winks at “unite.” In line three, the long vowel sound of “between” echoes “trees” from line two while the alliteration of the phrase “bound between” pushes the poem forward.


Having an awareness of sound similarities reminds us that this poem is meant to be enjoyed. It feels good. More than that though, the springing from word to word seems nearly inevitable, “Chalked up to chance,” one could say. Of course, it is the poet’s hand that brings these words in this order into the world, giving birth to the magic of poetry when “everything is nearly not born.”


Doverspike’s simple diction makes the poem easily accessible. Once she has gained our interest, however, she unveils a complex world rife with strange connections. She challenges us to imagine things like “a spark sown,” before making the connection even stronger through her clever use of the double entendre of buried “bulbs.” In the fifth stanza, she tumbles from sound (“pitch”) to emotion/nature (“pine”) to the physical body (“my skin”) to physical and emotional pain (“grown sore”) and places all of that under the construct of “time.”


In Doverspike’s world, “longing” is the physical elongation of a shadow and the emotional state that shadow represents. Blue is high sky and speckled eggs and deep ocean and deep emotion. By closing on “a light / beneath / the ocean— / drowning but not dimmed,” the speaker reminds us how much our perception colors and clouds the glow.



– The Editors