Tide Book

I’m imagining the refinery
is a beehive
and the heavy smoke

wafting not smothering
something is boiling beneath
something stirs
the bleached carapaces strewn


those fragile

crenellated shells

that small children gather
in their hands
(it’s not that I wanted

to hold everything

but also not
to wait at the station
year after year


the trains depart on schedule
(it’s not

a choice one can make)

before there was wind there was _______________
in my dream she returned to me
for milk

and we began again with our lessons
H is for hyacinth,

The opposite of roof is reveal

blue crabs sashay
from their holes

the big box store sold lottery tickets
as well as lawn chairs
(one could never have too much luck)

imagine a row of bottles on a sill
the light through them

was like that time —
I still speak to you
through my skin

what was the light before dawn? _______________
I could have answered every question

it was milk


Rachel Richardson is the author of Copperhead (2011) and Canticle in the Fish's Belly (forthcoming, 2016), both from Carnegie Mellon University Press. She has been awarded Stegner and NEA Fellowships, and six Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg prizes. She lives with her family in Greensboro, North Carolina.