Lucia Perillo’s new book, Luck is Luck, is due out soon from Random House. She lives in Olympia, Washington.
Fresh Water And Salt
When we were young girls and swam naked in Turkey Lake
we were like animals: our legs were thickly furred.
We took the trees’ rustling for a sign of their watching.
Even the limestone drooled from its mouth-cracks.
But then I got real: it was only lake-ledges, dripping—
rainwater, sweat of moss, and dew.
Maybe a man hid behind a birch’s pale skin
and I saw him, once. The rest, my ego running wild.
Still, it’s the roundabout way that I took to the island
that is Indian land, on whose shore I lay down without my shirt.
This is years from the lake, and the water is salt
when a rockslide clatters off the bluff.
Make the clatter a sign of the watchers come forward—
in the calm that comes after, I can hear their feet.
But the trees have long since surrendered their trench coats
and gone back to being simple trees.
First thought: I’ve grown old, second thought is the cops
but I keep my eyes closed to stall their skirmish
over me. Time clicks like their footsteps as they come close—
until a musty breath whelms down my face.
Now hold it there, freeze-frame, while I look up
at the sun corona-ing a mule deer’s chin.
Chewing some foxgrass, regarding me only
because on this wild shore I am strange.