Elizabeth Claire Rose, Ground (digital photograph)

When my mother heard
screaming in the bay below,
she tensed, but father
said it is only children, diving in.
But the noise grew
full of ache and pity.
And because, as father put it,
she had no restraint
in helping others,
mother went down to the jetty,
where she found a tall boy,
his wet eyes insistent,
and a redheaded girl
spread over sharp rocks—
underneath the waning fire
of her hair, a darker color.
You should have known then,
father later said, but still
mother put her hands
against the girl's breasts,
pushed down, and again,
as if trying to ward away
some demon settled
in the heart,
then abruptly stopped
and leaned over to kiss
the girl's bluing lips.
She kissed the girl again
and again, on those rocks,
in our small tin boat,
rocking on its journey
across the dam,
on the other shore,
and even after they were lifted
into the clouds.


Ondrej Pazdirek