It’s the water that carries us, after all,
like mermaids astride the glistening shell
of the giant sea turtle, we are slippery wet,
slick as newborns.
We are filled with the oceans, we are alive.
All my friends are anemones, supple, pliable,
bendy beneath the waves,
the salt and the sea that softens the flesh
and even the hardest of feelings.
All my friends are fluid.
When John was twelve he came upon his father
golden in the early morning light, hanging
by a noose from a rafter in the barn.
When Tim was twelve he followed his mother
to the Belgium Bridge and watched as she threw
what remained of herself into the Seneca River.
When Mark was twelve he watched his father
give himself up to the tumors that stole the hard,
dry breath from his lungs.
We did not kiss or hold each other close
one last time, we did not wish each other well.
When the edges get ragged, you can turn
a new seam. Again and again, you turn,
until the garment that once covered you
is a collar buttoned at your throat, a bib to catch
what crumbs may fall.
But this is not the edge.
This is the center, this is the heart,
where the rend is new
and the soft fray has only just begun,
there is still time to lay a patch,
still time to stitch things
If only I had a needle.
If only I could find some thread.
All along the shores of Lake Ontario
I gather the pieces of beach glass,
frosted blue and green, bits of vessels once
whole and transparent, now fractured into
fragments, small and opaque as moonstone,
buffed and lustrous, the product of time
spent tumbling, of turbulence, of friction,
of abrasion, bruised like knees for years and years.
I fill my pockets to overflow with the beautiful
battered bits and carry them all back home.