and jack pike
Lake bottom fine as clay, finer than combed corn silk,
Appalachian Basin saline, seepage salamander skin.
Feet sink ankle-deep into buttermilk, aquatic worm nests.
A hummingbird boat buzzes by, limned with limestone
barnacles, drift grit, the past breaking water, hitting its circled wake
speed bumps airing earth; fiberglass Rorschach blots clung fast
as snails to the bilge—lung shapes, shacks, stumps
laid pungent on a hillside, waft of innermost mulch.
Woodpeckers describe what they’ve lost without the word
“habitat-tat-tat-tat”—draw an arc over a naked gulch,
write the effects of erosion where leaves were. The landlord
responsible a foamy-haired domestic, the absentee kind.
The hair, the eyes, the back
of the knees magnetize grit
spit won’t cleanse or creek cut
without detergent, yet slick
enough silt scrubs fine lines
smooth as a butter pat
of water or guppies that accept
and reflect every cloudprint.