Waterland by Luanne Castle


In the b&w my mother stands on the steep lakeshore,
her back to the tall weeds and the turbid water below.
The newborn in her arms, face posed to the lens,
is me. I’ve done my best with feet and fists, my small
lungs blossoming like paper flowers in water, but she
is young and healthy and survived the assault of my birth.

A creative region, the water below mute and protective
with invisible hatchings of suckers, perch, of bullfrogs, but
for the silent snake undulating on the surface like Jesus,
like me dancing in levitation without pointe shoes.
The snake and me and Jesus, but first I was in her arms
and young and healthy and survived my own birth.

They found Jesus in the pillars, in the nebula where
born of cold and gas and dust and shrinking and breaking
apart the clouds, the protostar kills its parent to live.
After scaring away Jesus, more infant stars force gas jets
to discharge bombettes and comets, the fireworks’ finale,
and the new star, young and healthy, survives its birth.

Reflected in the lake below, the stars watch their lives.
Their light glints off the snake’s prismatic varied scales
and the bullfrogs’ yellow throats along the weedy shore.
Bluegills snap up larvae in slivers of illusory light.
Stars and snakes and frogs and fish, infants and mothers,
forever young and healthy here, survive their lives.

by Luanne Castle, first appeared in Open: Journal of Arts and Letters, from Roofed and Winged (Finishing Line Press 2022)

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Editor’s Note: This beautiful poem moves from memory to religion to the cosmos within a seamless narrative of imagery and light.


3 responses to “Waterland by Luanne Castle”

  1. tovli102 Avatar

    So beautiful!

  2. jeannieunbottled Avatar

    A beautiful poem….worth reading and rereading and rereading….

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