Breath enters your scrabbled body,
ribcage opens to light. You begin
to shift the rocks barnacled
to your belly. Begin to remember
a sea turtle you saw once
in the cove, just across the way.
You can spend each morning
lifting up your chest, and still
that curve of shell could have been
a gloss of seaweed. Still, your belly
is filled with stones. Still, your
bent limbs become
an outline on the edge of your life.
This is what wakes you,
pulls you to light. There is the long
stretching of the sea, the bowing
of the grass. There, in the distance
a soft splash.
All you can do is begin.
Emily Wall is an Associate Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Alaska. She has been published in a number of literary journals in the U.S. and Canada, most recently in Prairie Schooner and Alaska Quarterly Review. She has two books published with Salmon Poetry: Liveaboard and Freshly Rooted. Emily lives and writes in Douglas, Alaska.