Thursday, June 21, 2007


We go to the island to see the ducks,
but they are gone today.
The lake-dwellers we find are few:
silvery chub, some indolent water striders,
silky filaments of algae, luminous and green.

You are not disappointed.

The sun drops low in the sky, gravid
and red, limning the ripples and the
baby-blond of your hair. I taste
the thick and humid air, watch you toss
pebbles in the shimmering heat.
The sweat drips down my neck, pooling
between my shoulder blades, and I can
feel it gathering: the otherworldliness,
the here and not here, just beyond
the periphery. I know: if I look slant
into the sun, don’t breathe, and slide
my eyes, I will see what is real.

And yet, I cannot hold the focus. The essence
remains just out of reach, tantalizing:
here and not here, not here,

Not here.

Nerodia sipedon swims towards us,
undulating, serpentine.
My companions back away,
alarmed – but I have nothing
to fear from this dark gift.
Caught in its deep ineluctable gaze,
I am transfixed. Who knows
what truths may rise to greet us?

With a sinewy twist it is gone.
Released, I stumble backwards
into the glow, joyous and humbled
by this surprising, wet grace.


Rob Kistner said...

Sasha -

Engaging imagery -- especially as you are staring down the snake...

I liked it a lot!

Anonymous said...

I like snakes. Beautiful poem.

Crafty Green Poet said...

I can feel the summer in this, and I like your line about looking slant and sliding your eyes to see what is real - I write almost those exact words in a poem once!