The Running Wave

The cloud’s dark eye blinks, wavers, lets down.

This morning it stormed, interrupted the shore,
the thick conifer cluster.

A storm of gnats.
No difference between small pools and great lakes.

Black beach flies parachute over our heads.
Others have been here before us.

We were sent by the ranger to collect our own stones,
bench our rough treasures, scrape our legs on wood-knots.

How blood congeals like algae: scabs swamp our skin.

Due south, in the rind of horizon, a bridge shudders shut
after birthing another barge.

We wonder if we could pontoon, trace the line
of shipwrecks, live off the lake for days.

A thrush emerges from its cage of birches, dips low,
chatters a question. The hawk answers, circles

the smallest movement. Makes off
with more than rotted plum and peach-stone.

We lack a private line, trespass on sudden shoals, board and sliver,
rust and nail. Ants crawl between our toes.

Tongue and groove, curl and pucker. Think caldera’s
thin crust, uplift poised for uproar. Then, know where to dig.

When we finally find one, the agate’s shiny face holds a mouth ages old.
Its great maw engorged with air—the soundless wind

that polishes our fingers—waits to feed on rain.


Colleen Coyne is the author of the poetry chapbook Girls Mistaken for Ghosts (dancing girl press, forthcoming), and her work has appeared in Hayden’s Ferry Review, Crab Orchard Review, Cream City Review, Handsome Journal, alice blue review, Women’s Studies Quarterly, Drunken Boat, Poetry & Popular Culture, and elsewhere. She has been awarded artist residencies at the Anderson Center for Interdisciplinary Arts, the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, and the Willapa Bay AiR. Currently living outside of Boston, Colleen teaches first-year writing at Framingham State University and works as a freelance writer and editor.