from “outgoing tide—”

it has the depth of human error

I say this to myself about my face


& it’s true—low & intense first

winter light                 frost


softened sky colors & your deep ear

the oars glitter         the water spires


high tide made a small

margin              a salt whisker late


autumnal excess or clutter under

foot      the salt dark comes late north


it has the depth of human error

manic pixie soccer mom


in the bleak midwinter—

hard wrackline of a year’s ebb


the tide inevitable & circumflex

a skiff of snow in the new week


the wave closes over

your point of entry


the ten a.m. bells ring six

minutes late—very gently struck—


it has the depth of human error

lowtide shipwreck greenribs


every dog likes dead things

that’s how you learn the notes on a treble clef


at five p.m. on the last day in ordinary tide

wind motion visible in sea smoke


a tidal island has

atlantic grammar


I obliterate myself with small tasks

now that I have been inland a while

Copyright © 2023 by Pattie McCarthy. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on August 3, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.