Melanie Braverman

Dec 31, 2011 No Comments by Sea Stories

Neap Tide

It’s the season of the sea’s long pull from shore and my dog
has slipped the lead again to run full out away from me as I walk
the edge of the flats calling for her to come back. The musical
of tags at her neck mean nothing to her, out there
it’s something else she wants, not this limp bag of treats
I wave a half-mile away as if food could bring her back.
As if anything could.  Gulls drop their small missiles of shellfish
and wheel, tide so far gone my dog is a dark smudge that bounds
and recedes.  I could call it joy, but her running lives
beyond my naming, when I call her the sound of her name
as it clears the slim canal of my throat pleases only me, brants
and eiders swimming backward in the shallow bowl of bay
while my dog runs on, not for them but for something none of us can see

like the child I want but some days fear I’ll never have
is somewhere out there running too, vaporous but real as the clouds.
How will it come to us, through what means do I imagine us tethered
already to its slight formidable frame, umbilicus or some other
flexing line cast as our fishing neighbor from her deck casts daily
into the turning tide for which sometimes she is rewarded with fish
but often with only the feeling that fish will come.  We proceed
these days on faith.  I call my dog to come, hoping my voice
and everything it might mean to her will be enough to draw her
as a dousing rod is drawn to the spring no matter who is holding on.
But it does not.  She runs, pausing only to thrust her nose into the laden air,
each scent specific and urgent the way everything we’re calling
into our life caroms like dice in an open cup, swift as the spinner
on our neighbor’s foundered boat.


Melanie Braverman’s most recent book is Red (Perugia Press, 2002), winner of the Publishing Triangle Audre Lorde Poetry Award. The poems appearing here are from a book-length manuscript called “The World With Us in It.” She is a poet-in-residence at Brandeis University.

Hibernal 2012, Littoral Currents

About the Editors

Casey R. Schulke grew up along the Kuskokwim River in a rural Athabascan village in Alaska fishing for king salmon and mushing her sled dog team. She now resides on the shores of Resurrection Bay in Seward, Alaska. Casey's a poet, a naturalist, a dog-lover, has two birds, and is married to a wonderful man.
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