by Kristan LaVietes
The thing in the seashell slips back
in the sea. Where it sank is reflected
a flock of geese, like a matador
flagging his cape. Life
on my houseboat carries on. Today
I clean the deck. Sometimes my spirits
are lifted by Murphy’s Oil Soap
or Lestoil, which smell like light.
But I’m not doing well today.
I spent an hour in the closet already.
I forced myself to venture out, to walk
the beach and bring back
the conch, photograph it in color.
Its blue shell and pink operculum
astonished the black backdrop,
but now I’ve let it go, I had to let it go.
Sometimes I don’t do well.
The geese are gone. The neighbor wrens
return with a shoelace, a treasure.
The old woman one mooring over watches
everything I do and nods severely
if I catch her eye. At the mailboxes once,
she whispered to me, “See the bride. She is
an old woman,” Now she coughs. We both
look over to where a picnic
has been left on the dock, and a peach
rolls into the dark water.
Kristan LaVietes is a poet living in Alameda, an island city in California's Bay Area. She is the co-owner of an indie greeting card company and parent to two feral children. Her work has been published in “Pearl,” “Nerve Cowboy,” “The Savannah Literary Journal,” “Texas Poetry Journal,” “Moria,” “Wild Roof Journal,” and “Isotope.”