Thin Ice

Reedy striations don’t occlude the beneath—
earthy mash of leaves, flat pepper flakes, layered,

tips protruding, tender-desolate above a mirror
surface, gently pressing on horse-mane, nest material,

tickle-brush, fringe. Buff block-shapes further down,
ghost-bits of green-green, a lone leaf burned white.

My thrown stone skitters on ice. The next, larger,
plunks through and for a moment I am a violator

but then I see it opened a bubble cell, a city,
a lesion, a map—the way in cold and luminous.


Copyright © 2016 by Ellen Doré Watson. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on January 11, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“While I’m not usually bent toward the descriptive, I’m often struck by ‘the beneath,’ and this visual was arresting enough to make me want to say it. Pleasure in the ear and mouth took over, propelling me to I didn’t know where. It’s astonishing how through the writing we sometimes see more than we saw.”
Ellen Doré Watson