I do not mean to lose the coast. But the fragrant wood of the skiff, shore whining with current, as though I could hear the coil of electric lines humming with speech, the slur of ordering—and in overhearing seek to follow, or move away from, bow knifing the water and splaying it from its back, sound retreating fathoms down from the oar’s dip and dip. I am days at sea. And when I hit the tough edge of land again I care less that it is vacant, and more that the coast lines a country we might signal. Proof of my arrival only in the sedge bent down by the boat. As if the impress of a bedded deer, low in the prairie to escape the hunt.
Transatlantic Cable (1866)
Emma Gorenberg has published poetry in Times Literary Supplement, Narrative, and elsewhere.