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Owens, Elisabeth, R. (ed.) / Encore: more of parallel press poets
(2006)

Elbe, Susan
In my father's silver boat,   pp. 23-24


Page 23

 
In My Father's Silver Boat 
When the sky hangs dark as lake bottom, 
the horizon, a glimmering scrim, 
opal as a splayed shell, 
from a deep dropoff of summer sleep, 
he would waken me, 
rinse sand from my eyes and row us out 
to weed beds where he said 
the big ones hide, fat bluegills 
we could snag if we were only patient, 
the value of a thing connected 
to what you give to get it. 
With his broad hand over mine, together 
we would cast the line, its shrill 
whine of gut arcing out like silk, 
our wrists one motion waving back like kelp. 
Over and over we'd reel in our catch, 
the sun hauling itself up 
from black water, its bracelet of silver 
circling our single pulse. 
We'd drift that way for hours, sometimes 
over sandbars where I searched for clamshells, 
the rare ones open and still hinged 
like heirloom lockets, or like butterflies 
unfurled from their dark chrysalid. 
Or like him and me, drifting in the mystery 
of blood and water, the slow 
insistent signal of time working 
long enough at the hinge 
until each numinous dish floated out 
and away from the other. 
Him and me, once thick as mercury, joined 
in a silver shell on silver water, 
fish sucking rainbows out of the sun. 
Susan Elbe 
[previously published in Passages North (Winter/Spring 2003)] 
23 


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