Young lungs strainagainst the strictureof the life jacket.Ahead my father’s shouldersbob like a long-tailedduck riding, then divinginto a ripple. He is young.Between breaths, we comparewhat we may findon the island. My sisterwants to find a hoopskirta real Victorian ladywore to a ball. She isa romantic. I want to findbroken wineglasses, becauseI’ve never seen wine or a glassdesigned to hold it.Colleen wants to find a body.
The shell covering the beachis dangerous as broken plates.Lake water dries sticky on our skin.
Ahead, my father hops,yelping like a coyote,at pretend discoveries.We believe he sees the ghostsof vacationers. He hoistsan ochre shell shapedlike a pistol’s grip. [End Page 54]
We never found whatwe imagined we would.The way back is always shorterbecause anticipation takes hope.
Between strokes his armsreach ferris wheel high.He says TVA flooded the valleybelow our scissor-kicking feet.Cows ran for high ground;farmers lugged suitcasesof try-hard and tough luck.The hotel’s fine china a parablefor the derelict and dreamful. [End Page 55]
Rachel Morgan is the Assistant Poetry Editor for the North American Review and teaches creative writing at the University of Northern Iowa. She co-edited Fire Under the Moon: An Anthology of Contemporary Slovene Poetry (Black Dirt Press). Recently her work appears or is forthcoming in Fence, Denver Quarterly, Barely South, Volt, Hunger Mountain, South85, and DIAGRAM.