rivers in Florida are big enough I can put my mouth in one and forget
I am a body when the tropics grew up from the swamps it sounded like
the dead rev of an outboard motor most palm trees must have been
born tall like me at the end of Jackson Landing palm fronds forget
to cling to rope-swings teenagers drop off like lemons
and young coconuts they stagger to the surface swallow silt even the silt tastes
like water and that is the river’s favorite trick
It is sad when you are looking at the ocean
and you think the ocean is so beautiful
it looks like a light-box wall-hanging of the ocean
I once saw in a Chinese restaurant in Flushing.
When I dreamed my father
out of moon dust
he spoke in Douglas Fir
He was a talented creature
whose voice wove through walls
and brought a storm with it
When he explained moon cycles
there was never gravity
The tide was what came with us
What left us with a road
He could carve a bust from a
Fathers are the men who do
everything until they can’t
do the one thing
to make the world
When the sea had arms
they were my father’s
the water was freckled hazel
the fish were plentiful and hungry
After all the wolves died
there ceased to be a moon.
A light with no sound
was not a moon, just a light.
A fire was not a moon, just bright heat.
After the moon disappeared
what use was the Sun.
I burned my back in bed,
freckled in windowless rooms.
Water tasted better
when is hadn’t rained.
When the whole planet was dark.
When sound stopped traveling.
Once, I was afraid
the light in me wouldn’t fit
the light in you.
Then I couldn’t find my way
from the closet to the front door.
From the front door to the mailbox.
No one was bringing the mail.
No one was dragging the sky to my doorstep.
It was already there.
The whole expanse of the universe
and the lights not coming on.
The dark like a backwards fall
and no one squeezing my hand.
Lillian Nickerson is a writer who lives in Seattle with her small dog and tall boyfriend.