Poetry Issue 11

   Issue # 11: January-June 2009

Carrie Etter

The Reclamation

      Two months ago you were stranded on the Styx.

      Two months ago we waited on the bank
      screaming though our throats winced
      and our bodies crumpled in fatigue.

      When your boat by inches drifted back,
      we rubbed our eyes and sighed
      till we could be sure you were nearing.

      The dark, damp earth sagged beneath us
      as we raised our voices like lanterns.

      Weeks sprawled as you approached the shore.
      We rubbed our eyes and sighed
      at the unsteady blue of your gaze.

      Carrying you from boat to bank I could see
      your fingernails, your toenails
      had grown bestial.

      I knelt beside you
      to clean away weeks of dead skin
      under each hard curve,
      to trim each nail to its accustomed shape,

      to claim you—

      Mine, says the speechy daughter. Mine.