Pacific Northwest fall, with rain falling

This is an older poem, but it describes the way I feel these dark, wet mornings (and my hankering for a trip to Palm Springs).


The Sky Hangs So Low She Could Be Living Underwater

Thin rays penetrate
the water’s face, make the gray buildings
gleam for a blink.

She imagines the fish swimming everywhere
like giant insects—salmon instead of mosquitoes,
cod wandering in place of crane flies.

See the sidewalk paved with oysters
and jeweled starfish, anemones
adorning the Civil War graves.

Walking uphill, she loses
her breath, and the day
breaks over her like a wave—

she settles back to fluid depths,
turns a corner, slipping
on leaves as slick as seaweed.

With her puny lungs, she must rise again
and again, gasp like a fish on the dock.
A good day for gills—or for getting out.

(“The Sky Hangs So Low She Could Be Living Underwater” previously appeared in Plainsongs.)