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Departure - Poem by Christianne Balk (Christianne Balk)

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Thousands of tiny fists tamping the surface of the lake flowing like a wide river gone crazy, southeast, westnorth letting the wind push it around in its bed and the boat hull hugging the shore. What else can she do? Even the trees agree, shaking their crowns, throwing down their leaves as if she were their only child. Caught cold-footed in Magnuson grass, trying to cut free of the creosote-soaked pilings sunk deep in the shallow mud holding the water, holding her wake for a moment, furrow folding back over into confusion. Cascade gray crosscurrents! Sharp switching eddies! Unreliable shoals! Let the cloth argue with itself, gasping like a child with the air knocked out and the wind socking the center. Let the sail, shot-silk green and white, now snapping, billowing slowly draw her away from this beach marked with broken glass, rocks as smooth as plovers’ eggs, and small stones splashed iron red and orange like the sky breaking open. Let the windows ignite flickering copper on the other side. Let the water be disked with silver from here to there churning as if roiled by the flanks of a great, gentle fish. Christianne Balk

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