Plum Island and Back by Carla Panciera

Plum Island and Back

by Carla Panciera

You come here expecting things in pieces:
the fractured, fleshless shells of mussels,
crab-backs abandoned by soft bellies, a claw.

You come expecting flight over dunes, terns
diving, the confetti of aerialists mad for sky, herons
lifting from the marsh, trailing legs, trailing ropes of water.

You don’t come expecting poetry, nor love, either,
things you feel you’ve had enough of.  You expect —
no, you hope — for nothing grander than relief.

But the periwinkle lays out a path to the sea, a ribbon
in the sand his thin tribute. He has this house to move,
this exaggeration of spine, the only bone he knows.

It helps, it must, to have nothing to compare oneself to.
He can’t know the work ahead, but you do. You wish
the tide back in for him, you wish the moon on his side.


Carla Panciera has published fiction, poetry and memoir in several journals including The Chattahoochee Review, The New England Review, Painted Bride and NimrodHer first book of poetry, One of the Cimalores received the 2004 Cider Press Book Award.  Her second volume of poetry, No Day, No Dusk, No Love, was awarded the 2010 Bordighera Poetry Prize.  She lives in Rowley, MA, and teaches high school English.