Boundary Waters

Susan Terris


[Table of Contents]
[Editor's Note]

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.



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


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.