Poetry by Stacie Leatherman
The current had arrested me,
strong arms around the waist. It’s slow panic
to be the quiet, steady, struggling thing
in the water, eyes slits like the sunset behind,
like a bear whose floes have all melted except one.
That rock of shore. Head down I hauled
the stones of water as a monk might have carried his
up the steep cliff to the budding monastery,
eyes on the pinnacle, stone a blessing
on his back, as the weak, the matted, the starving do,
chipmunk flailing in a wash bucket,
frog’s doomed breaststroke in the lap pool,
forgotten until someone skims the bodies out.
Some people were collecting shells
beyond the jetty when I finally broke some
tether, some aquatic finishing line,
when I touched shore in the vertical position,
when I carved it with heel prints—
that was my body haloed like a sea urchin, closer,
that was my tentacled hair like a summit
as I gathered up towel and sandals
and walked to the house,
steps uneven, ankles rolling like schooners
in rough seas, wary of the sidewalk,
to lie here under a long blue quilt
with sand like thunder in my teeth, grinding.
Stacie Leatherman is the author of two forthcoming books of poetry: Stranger Air (Mayapple) and Storm Crop (BlazeVOX). Work has recently appeared in New American Writing, Indiana Review, Barrow Street, Diagram, and Crazyhorse, among others. She has an MFA in Poetry from the Vermont College of Fine Arts.