Boundary Waters

Susan Terris

 

[Table of Contents]
[Editor's Note]
[Masthead]
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I was guiding a trip where a young boy drowned.
Near Ely, he knifed into yellow-green,
stroked past humped boulders and never came up.

Then a second boy donned goggles and angled
himself deep where schools of dark fish finned.
I watched, held my breath, waited,

saying, This is taking too long. Goggles bobbed up,
but not his head, and he was lost to me, also.
I told myself, This is not true, only a dream,

and so I undrowned him, summoned him back to
balance on gunwales, a delicate, sinewy form,
skin stretched taut over ribcage. As I watched, he

dove and swam, rising again and again from
a bottomless lake. Then I summoned the first boy
until, water dribbling from hair and shoulders,

he stood before me, gave me a zippered pouch.
In it, crimped bills and fragments of cold
rock crystal. Turning away from boundary waters,

I mounted a horse, pulled one boy to the saddle
behind me, then the other. Wind and grit
in teeth, I loped through forests of jack pine

feeling water suck from my clothes. The boys
dried, too, growing lighter till they, like birchbark,
peeled and peeled and flaked away to nothing.

 
 

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"Boundary Waters" originally appeared in The Birmingham Review, 1998, and was reprinted in Curved Space, La Jolla Poets Press, 1998

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Susan Terris's new book, Fire is Favorable to the Dreamer, will be published in 2003 by Arctos Press. In 2004, Gary Metras at Adastra Press will publish a letterpress edition of her book Poetic License. Other recent books of poetry are: Curved Space (La Jolla Poets Press, 1998), Eye of the Holocaust (Arctos Press, 1999) and Angels of Bataan (Pudding House Publications, 1999). Recent fiction: Nell's Quilt (Farrar, Straus & Giroux). Her journal publications include The Antioch Review, The Midwest Quarterly, Ploughshares, and The Missouri Review. With CB Follett, she is co-editor of a new journal, RUNES, A Review Of Poetry. In the last three years she has had 11 different poems nominated for Pushcart Awards. Check out her [website]. Ms. Terris grew up in the midwest; and, despite the fact that she lives in San Francisco, she continues to spend a good part of each summer at her family's summer place in northern Minnesota where she spends her time swimming and canoeing.