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We danced by the lake. In blue dresses wrapped in lace and glitter. The waves kept time, spilling over the rocks and pebbles on the shore. 

The water was black, black blue. The colors shifted.

Green rocks speckled with light.

Shadows on the horizon, steeples of stone and brick. Their red in the water, thin lines cut between the waves.

Turning, hands over head, pointed toes, long legs. Flex.

Water against our feet, balanced across the stones caught between our toes.


The blues intersect. The sky in the water, the water in the sky.

Floral patterns sketched in the lace already soaked through.

The earth slopes away from the house. It breaks at the shore. Bands of rock and sand.


In the pictures, I am always dancing.


Our shadows fall into the water with the clouds. A mist settles. Minutes in waves and patterns, the sound of thunder softened by the wind and the birds overhead.


Our blues intersect and shimmer.

The house by the lake, a shallow lake, more black than blue. It bends and the shore rises to meet it.

The water is warm. The sun hides itself between the foam, clouds churning between the pebbles.


We danced by the lake, counting the waves that crept over our feet, pointed and flexed.

Straight lines traced from the horizon to the shore. By danced, I mean moved, as in wandered, as in crept through the waves, damp and buried.


In the pictures, it is always dusk. The light captured is dark, stained by the shadows of boats blocking the sun.


The waves capture the light from the sky. It spills over the shore, hides between the rocks.


When I think of the ocean, I think of dancing

after dark

            the steps my great grandfather carved

the big house beyond the steps across the street and the cottage house beyond the big house

all white paint and mayflies

slate and sand stitched with weeds and driftwood

patches of land threaded the waves

a mountain buried       we realized with our toes and hands something hard beneath the surface.

            there are teeth in the black

            the waves bite, tangled in wind and light

            unnecessary colors my mother loved

            the ocean

            the smell of salt in her hair

the blue that wasn’t blue but threads of green and white and the black beneath

my grandfather’s hands are leather and sand and when he takes me in his hands, I know I am being carved – the excess stripped and tossed from the boat.

my great grandfather died on land mowing the lawn – something my grandfather and mother still regret and avow against.

There are ropes in my grandfather’s hands. There is linen and nylon and sinew. There are scales. The smell is constant. Salted water cooks his skin. The blue is in his hands, woven within the creases of his back.

There is something burning in the water. There is no light. Just the mountain cast in coral – it creeps and creeps beneath my skin.


It’s the ocean. It’s in your blood. Just like your mother.


He tells me to swim towards the sun.