In my winter by the sea, I fashioned
a new habit:
each day walking to Crowley Creek through mud
and leafless alder, their branches
cupped by the plush green of mosses and rolling
beds of sword fern, whose serrated
edges thrust extravagantly into cold and humid air.
The creek fed the estuary,
which in turn fed the sea—and I liked to see how far up
the tide had reached,
or how far it had receded, the marshy banks transformed
by that lunar clockwork
on which my hours turned.
Water called slack, like the grip on a rope
loosened, at which point the river would swell
and still, the brackish tide
having expanded the limits of the creek, submerged
grasses swaying like the drowned
hair of a doll. Cold and hard and clear,
the water looked like the creek I felt in me.