Strays

Not exactly a rip
current but enough of a drag
to rearrange her.

Where are we?
Where’s our stuff?

See my car beyond
the collapsing seawall?

Identifying cars has never been her
strength. A weakened
swollen left foot

finds relief
in the cool salt

water. Nothing hurts
in this moment. Gang

shootings happen weekly
back home. Heads down, eyes
locked in, a knot

in the throat that can’t be loosened
by the contents

of any of those 10,000 +
lakes. By blood soaking into a little sister’s

sleeve. And swimming here
in a dress, she wishes
she could be more lost.

How Close Are You to the Shore?

Can you walk barefoot through dune
grass at high

tide and predict how many purple
mussel shells

will be uncovered
next? I wonder if this image of you

I’ve constructed
from ash bark and river glass

could come close
to dampening your bare skin.

Long Distance Brackish Exchange

Just past midnight
wishes travel
instantaneously from the south
shore to the west
bank and beyond
(a mile or so). The drop

of salt
water says to the fresh
one in the middle:

I want
to see pictures.

Too mesmerized
by his voice, how he plays
your guitar, to dig out
my camera,

comes the muddy reply.

Islands of Virgin Woods

A stack of canoes banked
on a rack beside the canal
between two lakes is a chain

gang of my former lovers. Release
the bungee cord fasteners, free
one from the group to use. Glide

through flat water
on a sunny afternoon till it turns
into black sky and heavy rain. Plunge

the paddles, pick up the pace.
If I don’t return
this one, I won’t get another

one to damage—or
be damaged by.

Little Turtle Lake

Frogs dart across moist areas of a tended path,
grasshoppers take the dry,
beavers’ work evident by the dead
trees in a still pond—no sign

of the maker, everywhere there.

I step into another woman’s childhood landscape
and can smell my own
in this boathouse on a lake. Fresh
or salt water, it floats. Nothing gets trapped underfoot.