She shuffles bigly to the rim of the great lake, a lip at which she could kiss and/or plummet
depending on the depth of its skin.

An urge grips her chest beside the lake—an ache; a small-small hole bored by an emerald ash.

In summer, loosestrife purples this beach, strangling others even beyond its reach. How darling
an intruder can be.

                                       (To think, even that sea lamprey had a handsome ring of teeth, even
                                       pickled, as he was, on the classroom mantlepiece.)

Where next will the ice thin? When did she catch this hole in her coat, the fluff now gushing
through the fiber?

                                       A burr burst it, maybe; or a grabby branch; or the claw of some silken fox
                                       now snoozing in his den.

The scream she expels to clear her head does not echo but, instead, is trapped and tinned by
walls of snow.
She is obliged, now, to turn toward home—
                                                                               the me she keeps toasty in this sleeve of feathers is
                                                                               losing warmth first through the feet—
though turning into the storm would be simpler; a destruction so slow, but pleasantly sure.
From the pile of antlers, a chorus begs;
                                                                               even sandpipers may come first for the eyes.

EMILY PITTINOS is a Great Lakes poet and essayist currently teaching in Boise, ID. Her recent work appears, or will soon appear, in Denver Quarterly, New England Review, Ninth Letter, The Adroit Journal, The Iowa Review, and elsewhere.

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