Lake as Elegy

Amy Ash & Callista Buchen



            pond, stream, brook, lagoon

            poem, requiem, dirge, song


Reflection drowns the trees along the shoreline, pulls them under

as mirror bleeds into mirror, even as the water moves, as each wave

breaks and breaks, curve and collapse. Not skin but scale


crosshatches the surface, and hundreds of vertebrae and ribs slide

beneath our useless feet. We try to breathe. Silt and sediment, sand

that won't hold still. What turns to grain, tumbled and crystal


inside the cage of our lungs. What feeds and drains this body

bent in wind, how we listen for a song we can recognize, for movement

to pull us through. Our limbs are driftwood, our hair is kelp. Algae


clings to our cheeks, our fingers, chokes any cry. Here, we

learn to love the anchor, the feel of chain on anklebone, heavy

with this ebbing blood. We turn toward the pulse, the rhythm.


Throw a pebble and the water will echo. But slice the surface

with your oar. How quickly, how completely its skin heals.





Amy Ash’s first full-length collection The Open Mouth of the Vase was a recipient of the Cider Press Review Book Award and is forthcoming in January 2015.

Callista Buchen is the author of the chapbooks The Bloody Planet (forthcoming from Black Lawrence Press) and Double-Mouthed (forthcoming from dancing girl press). Her work has appeared in Arsenic Lobster, Blue Mesa Review, DIAGRAM, and many other journals.