Letting what you held slip back into the water

There is an art to everything. To letting the line
drag out, to the extra moment given
before the hook is set. To how one learns,
eventually, to watch the light and not indulge
the urge to name it. Eventually I will get there.
You say to yourself in the boat as it beats
its way toward shore. To the place where I
no longer hold the moment. The fish slips
back beneath the surface. A brief flickering
image, the coin is flipped and gone,
its iridescent side containing, not the moment
the light caught, but the one that comes right after
when what had been there, so surely, slips
just out of view. How bright the world is
then. Almost as if the light’s been loosed.
How soon the shore comes into view. How
careful, the wind, as it pulls, bit by bit,
tearing the flag apart.


Riding the wake of that sound

When it leaves you, you feel like a fool,
you feel like the moon, the part that’s been
lobbed off, laid bare for pale reflection.
Hello wind, as it peels the house apart.
The membrane between all things
must be growing smaller now.
No longer safe in the quietness,
the previous moment split, like the moment,
shucking scallops, when the shells are pulled apart.
In it there is the sound a voice makes
when it finally breaks wide open.
The light that seeps so bright
it drowns all sound. A boat emerges. Is it rescue,
solitude, what will be, finally,
delivered? The boat tied still to its line.
The boat beat, incessantly, as if toward,
but never reaching, the shore. Do you know
where you are now? Is it the sound the house makes
when the last nail’s loosed? Shingles, bits of wood,
tumble across the grass. Cattails back-bent
in the marsh. I am alone now, she thinks
riding the wake of that sound.


Mary Helen Callier is a current MFA candidate at Washington University in St. Louis from Columbus, Georgia. She is the author of the chapbook Spring and Stuff (dancing girl press, 2018).

Photo by Casey Horner on Unsplash

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