Departure - Poem by Christianne Balk
Thousands of tiny
fists tamping the surface of the lake
flowing like a wide
river gone crazy, southeast, westnorth
letting the wind push
it around in its bed and the boat
hull hugging the shore.
What else can she do? Even the trees
their crowns, throwing down their leaves as if
she were their only
child. Caught cold-footed in Magnuson
grass, trying to cut
free of the creosote-soaked pilings sunk
deep in the shallow
mud holding the water, holding her
wake for a moment,
furrow folding back over into
gray crosscurrents! Sharp switching eddies!
shoals! Let the cloth argue with itself,
gasping like a child
with the air knocked out and the wind
socking the center.
Let the sail, shot-silk green and white, now
slowly draw her away from this beach
marked with broken glass, rocks
as smooth as plovers’ eggs, and small
stones splashed iron red
and orange like the sky breaking open.
Let the windows ignite
flickering copper on the other side.
Let the water be
disked with silver from here to there
churning as if roiled
by the flanks of a great, gentle fish.
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