my sundress up, held over
my knees, down into the lake -
slosh of seaweed, oily green,
little fish like fingers of light.
come back you’re going too far
eyes closed. sun on skin. murky lake,
stones and dead silt,
cloudy and cold. dark scratch of pines along
the long white wrist of the sky. go
under. down below the silver
surface till i heard him calling
back again -
rose up with water in eyes and ears, bereft of breath,
the blood throb of my heart beating in my throat.
if this was how it was, now, always
going farther and farther, wretched and reckless,
trying to restart a sputtering heart.
damp bleached sheets, the cigarette smell
of old motels, the motto – you’re only a stranger
once. we put on lipstick, baring
the neat reefs of our teeth. it is easier
to be an islet, to hope
for high tides, but we are
at the mercy of the moon, the neon star lite.
instead we promise, like oysters, to make pearls
from our pain. we drink from plastic cups, float
in the green pool, flouting posted rules:
no person infected with communicable disease
or open sores shall pollute the pool.
after, we climb out, shiny with salt
water, comb our cold and briny hair, hands pale, hard
as coral, our smiles leech-lipped, jawless,
ready to suck blood.
HOLD THE SHELL TO YOUR EAR
& YOU CAN HEAR THE OCEAN
never better than this, a beach,
a blessing of summer weather,
a wash of waves sequined
blue green with bright glass,
silver-scaled fish beneath the surface,
skinny fingers of light. a lick
of whisky, a wish, what we sip
to thaw a bit, forget
the bitter grind of time,
what scours us to sand,
untouchable as sky -
we are but pale balloons
tethered to bone
let go, and look, we float
About the Writer
Anne Baldo lives in Southwestern Ontario, and has been previously published in Qwerty, The Impressment Gang, Contemporary Verse 2, The Windsor Review and the anthologies Sweet Lemons 2 and Whisky Sour City.