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The light had its gradient pull.
I scanned away from the schoolyard
with the lens sparkling. And the moon
divvied up into separate grains.
I find the coin I'd skimmed
from the lake, and when it cries,
I'm reminded: the lead ocean itself
is waiting, with love, within us.
None of us dared trim away
the snake's skin that summer for fear
of what was beneath its unwinding.
Beyond us, all of our glassware
is being sown over in a future
where a shoulder blade is found
and dug up again. It will know
nothing of us, or the ocean
that crept through the sun. Difficult
child, shrilling lake unhinged,
you stand in a state of mild yawning
in a church of your own gold
peeling your shadow from
the diving board. On stage!
it was said. File in! The sounds
of undressing and song coursed through
the back halls, then were lost behind
the beverage machines. We were placed
in line as if meant to return
our crossbows. And I loved these
cross-purposes. At night,
in our beds, our legs snapped like dawn
on a hinterland of ice.
We were told God was winnowing us
into fascinating lutes.
While the flood ranged southward.

Peter Mishler

Best New Poets 2013
Samovar Press / Meridian

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