Lake as Elegy
Amy Ash & Callista Buchen
pond, stream, brook, lagoon
poem, requiem, dirge, song
Reflection drowns the trees along the shoreline, pulls them under
as mirror bleeds into mirror, even as the water moves, as each wave
breaks and breaks, curve and collapse. Not skin but scale
crosshatches the surface, and hundreds of vertebrae and ribs slide
beneath our useless feet. We try to breathe. Silt and sediment, sand
that won't hold still. What turns to grain, tumbled and crystal
inside the cage of our lungs. What feeds and drains this body
bent in wind, how we listen for a song we can recognize, for movement
to pull us through. Our limbs are driftwood, our hair is kelp. Algae
clings to our cheeks, our fingers, chokes any cry. Here, we
learn to love the anchor, the feel of chain on anklebone, heavy
with this ebbing blood. We turn toward the pulse, the rhythm.
Throw a pebble and the water will echo. But slice the surface
with your oar. How quickly, how completely its skin heals.
Amy Ash’s first full-length collection The Open Mouth of the Vase was a recipient of the Cider Press Review Book Award and is forthcoming in January 2015.
Callista Buchen is the author of the chapbooks The Bloody Planet (forthcoming from Black Lawrence Press) and Double-Mouthed (forthcoming from dancing girl press). Her work has appeared in Arsenic Lobster, Blue Mesa Review, DIAGRAM, and many other journals.