Jennifer Chang

(New Jersey / United States)

Estuary


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.

Who says?

Well,
I heard it said. And, sensing my own
diminishment, know it.
~
Color of water—
not blue, not clarity.
Heard the loon
brooding regret,
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
ruinous
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.
Believe me,
the bay mothered the cove, and both
are outlet and inlet: Let down,

let go.
Where the swallowed voice
becomes the choking voice.
In the estuary,

I saw a face of silent answer.

Submitted: Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Edited: Tuesday, July 15, 2014

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