Oh, to travel, to step down
into the sunken lane, to be sunk,
to sink and relish the green
gliss of it. I think of Lucy, who
never passed a lake or a pond,
a sea or a sound
she didn’t think to slip into.
After my last dip of the day,
my second swim,
the sun dried the sea to salt
on my skin and I think of her
and imagine I know why she longs to,
at every chance, at every coast – swim.
How the water receives her
unflinching, without judgment.
How her body floats
the way she must have floated in utero –
spineless and mindless at first,
no more than a speck,
the way we’d live if we could
let the phones ring, let the texts go,
be so out of touch,
the small print we can barely read
is barely news at all, a shadow,
a stand in for all that’s unsaid,
all that’s unfinished, unwritten, unread
for all that becomes a meadow, a sea, a sound
all fluid, all containment, where the sink,
the pleasure, the knowing and
not knowing, the you in all things comes in.
Elaine Sexton is the author of two collections of poetry, Sleuth (2003) and Causeway (2008), both with New Issues. Her poems, reviews, and essays have appeared in numerous periodicals including American Poetry Review, Poetry, Art in America, Oprah Magazine, Pleiades, New Letters, Prairie Schooner, and Poetry Daily. She teaches poetry and text and image workshops at the Sarah Lawrence Writing Institute, in the graduate program at City College (CUNY), and New York University. She serves on the board of Q Avenue Press and is a member of the National Book Critics Circle.