Swimming in lake superior in may / matthew smart
Wade out until legs appear crooked,
attached by slivers of skin and goosebumps,
feet pallid and jaundiced break
the palate of worming sand billows.
Go out deeper, the cold more intimate,
a chill creep climbing like nightshade.
Hold arms dry, skate hands across the surface,
fingertips painted as if dipped in candle wax.
Keep sight of the sun as it spangles the crests
and lifts tents of impermanent hollow.
Finally, breathe deep and go under.
For a severed moment see both worlds,
the above, the below, halved by a membrane of light.
sound dampens to water and sates the ears.
The boundaries of air become visible.
Watch the sky above, a rubbed horizon,
raised and calling its children home.
Breathe out slowly, spill voice like a leak,
The effervescent pearls leaf off to freedom,
white sparks which hum upward, aflare,
more violently liquid than
water can ever be.
Matthew Smart lives in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, where he works as an information technology analyst. His poetry has appeared in Five2One Magazine, Queen Mob’s Tea House, Riggwelter, Unbroken Journal, Bird’s Thumb, and elsewhere. He serves as Prose Poetry Editor at Pithead Chapel.