Sasha Watson

Speaking From the Center

Once I saw him set a pond on fire.
Reedy growth, the sudden smoke and he

scattering towards trees, the tall grass
flat behind him.

How he prefers it: fog at dawn, the water
rising, settling, the rhythmic sun.

What does it matter, let the skin
even be a blade of grass. 

Let the water come
to cling or slide from it.

Let it dry and burn,
rot back into dirt.

Let it all take what it will,
the center go, the elements,

pores close and open.
Let him be still.


Silvery fish, pale thing
luminescent in those brown Maine lakes.
On land you swung by wild, escaped my grasp
and suddenly I knew the loss of you,
in the water begged the last of what you’d been,
hooked an arm around your waist and waited
for you to grow tired, to relax,
to let me hold you.
Remade sullen now you turn away
under your new heavy brow.
I try to slide behind your anger, make you laugh.
I ask again and feel your awkwardness
echo desperate, carry across years
to that summer, that one day
when I looked up at you, springing,
leaping over me, bright against blue sky
and I thought, “boy,
boy,” and shrieked with you, 
dove as you hit the water near me,


Hand hooked to a claw you show
where the blood came
falling sweep, the strike
in rooftops, flowerings, spread sky.
Motion held, your wrist turned
two birds in one
both clutching over, gone.

She looks up to where the next could ever come from
hovering a distance, long weight drifting
“It takes hours,” she would say


Through trees one day blue heron
flings awkwardly from water
leaving sound behind, another unseen bird.
(You think, “Sky Lake - I threw a stone
out onto ice. It echoed like laughter,
trees all around us. At the center
a white heron lifted its thin leg,
movement so slow it was one part of stillness.”)

Spread thin, she circles
underpulling sphere, a crash of regular motion
and plummets to a nest of sound,
the background crackling.
It is not what she bargained for 
and yes it is. 
It is a wrapped accumulation of open spaces.

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