Stiff and halting on the shore
she takes cautious
tentative steps wobbly
as a baby's
but in the sea
her locked limbs are fins.
As cartilaginous as a shark
she dives into the sorcerer's
crystal curls: reborn.
She swims farther and farther
from the bars of bone trees,
rhythmically exhaling into the
charmed liquid air.
With faith in stillness
she floats beyond
the loops of the waves,
the sky reflected in her eyes;
murmuring ripples caress the
tips of her fingers.
The sinew of the water carries her
to where the humpbacks sing,
Someone waves from the edge of
the locked land.
She treads water
A Piece of Sky
He rises from concrete slab
to the slit of window
three feet by four inches
That first day years ago
a crow side-gliding in and out
one flap and out of view.
He learned their names
(guidebooks from the library).
Once a peregrine
swirling the thermals,
Canada geese in a slowly widening V,
and gulls. Always gulls
soaring him out-of-body.
He had to remember the sound
of pelting rain
thunder after the vertical bolts.
He learned the ephemera of clouds:
puffed piles of cumulus
their slide show of transient creatures.
Learned too, the sky's prognosticators from
dark descending to the high-flying
brush strokes of cirrus mare's tails . . .
even fog rising from the unseen land.
If never the moon
on clear nights the brightening sky;
when moonless, the cold glinting stone-stars.
He stared into that slice of night
willing one to fall and in all those years
one did fall briefly like a spent tear
done with wishes.
he mourned most where snow fell
the slow-motion of it piling
on the back of the sleeping fox;
the first spring grass drinking the melt;
the creek over-flowing down the
sides of black macadam.
Sunrise. So many
the peach glow to golden molten
surrendering to steely blue.
At day's end, the altocumulus
rippling waves ebbing like the tide
leaving miles of dusky flats.
His food appears in the slot.
until the last light leaves the
four corners of the day, his
piece of sky.
Later he dreams about
the tops of trees.
They find her in our woods
I watch from the front porch
as they carry her into
our small town's ambulance.
I listen as the sirens fade, a sound
more often heard now that the
summer folks are staying longer.
This early September day
the heat tremulously touches the afternoon,
almost warm enough for a last swim and
I hurry since the day will cool by three.
I dive in this one time
and after the needed shock
touch the bottom with the palms of my
The easy peace is tempting:
to join the free-floating sargassum
the horseshoe crab who buries, then
is reborn again, again and
I burst to the surface for air.
On the way home
taste the sea tears on my lips.
I see the glory in the few
and wonder if she saw them dying.
Carol Amato's poetry has been published in several magazines and journals. While poetry is her first love, she is also a children's author and natural science educator. In those capacities, she wrote a series published by Barron's Educational Series, Inc. (ten natural science titles) and Backyard Pets--Activities for Exploring Wildlife Close to Home, published by John Wiley & Sons. She also provides natural science programs for classrooms in the greater Boston area with focus on the marine life and ecosystems.