The Valley

by Lauren Aliza Green

I took the boat out every morning,
allowing my hands to skim

the shimmering sky
laid out against the lake’s surface,

never clear enough for me to see
its bottom, or whether

fish dwelt there, as the man
in the tackle shop claimed.

Monday followed Monday.
I adopted a dog and taught it

old tricks. I taught it to fetch,
and waited for it to sniff

my voice from the brambles.
Spending each day in fear of its end,

my naked body submerged
even in thin air, the skin

shapeless but soft.
I rented an apartment

in whose rooms strangers drifted
before retiring their footloose lives.

Same old couch, same old French molding.
In the springtime, when the basement

floods, I see our kissing reflections
stretched queenly across the floor.

I touch them in want of the past.
They touch me in want of touch.

Finalist, the Poetry International Prize 2022

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