My house faced an estuary.
I looked for where ocean tide
instructed river flow.
I was more river, pliant
to the sea, and did no roving.
Supple as current, and as reckless, I was
a loose believer.
My face, an estuary.
My river-mouth. Ocean-eyed.
Mornings were a drowned city. Gulls
fell from the fog, their voices
trailing chords of hunger.
They say absence culls the wayward,
that the derelict leaf
soon ashes and is air.
I heard it said. And, sensing my own
diminishment, know it.
Color of water—
not blue, not clarity.
Heard the loon
or caution: The darkest
pools of water
form the sky's silhouette.
I was not good. The house sank,
the soggy bank would not hold.
A spirit rocking like a boat
took me to this between place.
Took me for goodness—
I mistook. No, misspoke.
The poverty grass
flowering in the dunes. True, what is
is also vital. When I swim to the estuary,
I will not know where I am.
I chased the breakers, their compass of come
and come again.
the bay mothered the cove, and both
are outlet and inlet: Let down,
Where the swallowed voice
becomes the choking voice.
In the estuary,
I saw a face of silent answer.
Jennifer Chang's Other Poems
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