Water Dancer

She knows this dock—
each splinter, barnacle,
hurricane-spared stilt.

It is not a plank. It’s where she walks.
She knows how to dive,
has been doing it for years.

No easing into the wash,
she plunges in and is used to it
before others awake.

This is underworld—closets, caves, shelves,
trenches, forests, hydromedusa, brittle
stars, Painlevé’s camera.

This is where she should live—
she who is a sponge
is a sponge is a sponge.

She will never work a room
on dry land, works the ocean floor
with the precision of a jelly bloom.

To become exposed to air,
the rising sun. It is her death
to appear before all of us.

Metal crushes metal on a distant street, emergency
sirens approach
closer, closer. A muffled distortion underwater.

Leave her enough sea room.
She would rather synchronize her own sculls
outside a tank

than be confounded by a mirage of closing night roses
she can’t reach without a body.

Low on the Horizon

nothing to prompt us
the first boyfriend question
still unresolved / a new year
it’s just another day

when the temperature has plummeted
as if on cue / the morning sun
converts a thick layer
of ice over everything

into diamond-studded
streets and sidewalks
velocity and momentum
get mirrored by outstretched arms

upon arrival the irony
mark makes some rumblings
other gestures with straighter lines
may come back or slide forward

as firsts to hang
our thickest parkas on
after a morning outdoor refresher
who needs a prompt

or first boyfriend clearly defined
when we can wipe our boots
on the vestibule mat
so cold and so bright outside