I Float

Rose McLarney

When the river flooded, when

I was a child, I boated

around the fields. And so it began,

my myth-making. I recall that altered time

foremost. I float.

Transformative washes

over the world — the time of evening when

I can have a drink, being in love,

the lyric way of speaking — that’s what

I’ve turned out to live for.

Though I know what’s more worthy

is the solid ground

and those who stood

on and worked it. My mother

would have been chopping

food she’d grown in those fields

while I was drifting over them.

I was heading out beyond

the sounds unintentionally but always

made by cooking —

not a special bell, no lifting song,

the economical and earthly summons.

There must have been, as every night,

the clunk of cast iron and a heavy meal

I was little help in preparing.

But what struck me

was the rarity: watching a lost garden.

The leaves wafted, the rounds

of fruits that had hung,

though ruined, were buoyant now.

Broken by refraction, they changed

to baubles I wanted.

The flood was a costumer, a jeweler.

And the way water cut ordinary sights,

that was appealing labor:

making stone toss about weightless light.

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