After “Salem Cove” by Maurice Brazil Pendergrast, 1916 by Jack Christian


If they are dabs of flesh then to touch
is not so transgressive.

If they are scalloped and mosaic —
pilgrims painted like succulents.

This lie better than drowning to live again.

They watch as over and over the water
lifts a dock on its swell, the water so careless

it sprays into sun while they stay rolled
in clothing, their shadows heaved

onto mountains, thrown into rocks.

Their wind sewing seeds on deadline.
Their trees all see-through.

Hear the water slap together,
slap together. See the gold boat float.


Jack Christian is the author of the poetry collections Family System, which received the 2012 Colorado Prize, and Domestic Yoga, published in 2016 by Groundhog Poetry Press.