My childhood was spent breaching broad rocks
set like barnacled backs of whales. My parents parted
from me strangely: a crow took my mother
and my father was lost in the sound
of a float plane bleating into the sky.
The trees tried to teach my sisters and I
to carve light. Instead we adopted the ferns
as our pets and spent long hours brushing their hair.
At dusk we hucked horseshoes in horseless places.
The scuffle of our feet forged a dark dugout
in the pit around the peg; imprints left by
small hands collecting remains of the toss.
The morning starfish moved meticulously;
they painted themselves for little girls.
Of the child’s imagination: countless
mussels wrenched for curiosity. Below the sea
the dogsharks shook their smooth heads.
I keep my eye on it hurtling toward that lost space
where I grew up, between docks; bear skin shimmering
silver and cinnamon, paws poised over the place
I learned to spell my name forwards and forwards.