Poems

Pamela Leach: ‘Bone Memory’

Bone Memory

These lichen-dappled rocks are worth
a daily visit. Their ochres, oranges
and ruffled baby blue are like
drips of paint drooling off a palette.

The river beams, a silver gelatin photo,
or puddle of mercury from a broken thermometer.
I steep in its poetry. Yachts are tethered
in Cornelian Bay’s blinding chrome, miniatures

in profile, throw-backs to pre-digital
sailing days. Someone wants to sell a boathouse,
the periwinkle one with a writing table
by the door, oyster shells a pearly parquet

in the shallows beneath. It costs more
than a home—character is dear. But this light
is so clean, no price is worthy of it.
Verse would gurgle, surge from here.

There are murmurs of an ebbing tide,
perfect lapping beneath the floorboards
so early in the day. I pin that sound
to my notebook for later, for my pretend

toasty afternoon of writing in the boathouse.
Wood smoke from the stovepipes of these
cottages on stilts smells sweet despite
my climate worries. Perhaps I stem from

a clan of fiery Celts, carriers of flame—
earthen swatches of the sun. These long nights
of midwinter and pink frost on each rigid blade
drill deep into the memory within my bones.

Pamela Leach

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