Thursday, April 21, 2011

Yellow Ocean

I was born with the ocean
tossing spit balls over the rocky California beaches
into my windows.
I was just a baby
when Mom and Daddy loaded everything in the car and we drove
over mountains and through wheat fields
and past the sunflowers dancing along Kansas highways.
I was crying
when the air got heavy and the wind drooped with salt and
Mom and Daddy parked the car in Florida.
I was a stranger there.
Palm trees and swamps and millions of people crowded me in for eighteen years.
But I was a stranger there.
I was all grown up
when Mom and Daddy loaded me onto an airplane
and I flew over mountains and past the Kansas sunflowers.
I was laughing
when the air turned fresh
and the wind teased the mountains
and the hills that rocked like a thousand marching camel humps.
Yellow wheat rolled and swayed like ocean waves:
I was in a new sea.
I was home.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Fish

A prose adaptation of Elizabeth Bishop's poem.

I wriggled my toes in the water sloshing in the bottom of my canoe and a beetle bumped against my foot. A green spider scuttled along the hot aluminum, wobbling like it was dancing with the burning metal. When it hid in the shade under my seat, I baited my fishing hook and tossed it into the green water. Then I closed my eyes and let the sun flicker orange over my eyelids and freckle brown across my shoulders. Dangling my hand out of the boat, I ran my fingers through the lake water and felt the weeds slither through my grasp like water moccasins. 
            Suddenly my fishing pole moved and I snatched it and reeled in fast. A tremendous fish jumped out of the water and landed on my foot. He didn’t wriggle or flop. He just stared up at me with eyes that were bigger than mine and tarnished, like dirty tinfoil. I reached to pull the hook out of his lip and found that it was tangled in four or five pieces of old fish-line. They looked like medals hanging from his bloodied lip, and I stared and I stared at them floating in the water and the victory in the bottom of my canoe. Then the sun caught the edge of the hook—stuck in that old fish’s lip—and light glittered over his tinfoil eyeballs and sparkled on the hot aluminum canoe until everything was “rainbow, rainbow, rainbow. And I let the fish go.”