Wash of cold water finally on my back or just the river

I remember sticking my ankles in and finally dirt flaking


water drift inside my mind now, as if thoughts leaked

water, rare flowers, or rather now leaking what’s so


normal, taking out the trashcan to the curb every Monday

morning. I see a leaf enclosing around this squirrel’s fist.


My hound hunts for baby crackers dropped by my daughter

in the front yard, their camellia texture on his tongue,


and the air from the neighbor’s mower, wind-flower, grass and how

much pollen again will yellow our feet. How to separate


my domestic urge and the one of the north-wind I’ll call it,

county fairs with prizes selected I knew I could win if I just


tried hard enough and nothing to lose. Some of the light creeps

and is on everything you could lose now. Or that’s the way


I want it, angling to keep nothing on my back but everything

already is. Some wear their intimate thoughts and kind gestures


in the face. I wear them on this front lawn today. I don’t really care

what the neighbors say. I love their sprinklers anyway and will bask


my feet in them. My daughter strips and sits in water. The treasure

of a mind is cast out before I can touch it. Drawn garden-ward and


sea-ward I want right here, thoughts that flow like water into land

a tale I could sit and tell my daughter. On this day. That I would


take her and make her a frigid statue out of a tale, make beautiful

space and line, and somehow figure out how to polish an inaccessible


shrine, a making of my own, a day, this one, rare squirrel-wet breath,

whatever collides today, let it tell something about what we urge.


*some language from H.D.’s “Wash of Cold River”


Emily Koehn grew up in Hot Springs, Arkansas, and currently lives in St. Louis. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Crazyhorse, Thrush, Pleiades, Denver Quarterly, Seneca Review, CutBank, and other journals. Her work has been nominated for the Best New Poets series and two Pushcart Prizes. She received her MFA from Purdue University.