Skin Canoes

Swallows carve lake wind,
trailers lined up, fish tins.
The fires of a thousand small camps   
spilled on a hillside.

I pull leeks, morels from the soil,
fry chubs from the lake in moonlight.   
I hear someone, hear the splash, groan   
of a waterpump, wipe my mouth.   
Fish grease spits at darkness.

Once I nudged a canoe through that water,   
letting its paddle lift, drip.
I was sucked down smaller than the sound   
of the dropping, looked out
from where I had vanished.

Carolyn Forché, “Skin Canoes” from Gathering the Tribes. Copyright © 1976 by Carolyn Forché. Reprinted with the permission of Yale University
Press, http://www.yale.edu/yup/.
Source: Gathering the Tribes (Yale University Press, 1976)
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