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Recorded for Poem-a-Day, January 11, 2016.
About this Poem 

“While I’m not usually bent toward the descriptive, I’m often struck by ‘the beneath,’ and this visual was arresting enough to make me want to say it. Pleasure in the ear and mouth took over, propelling me to I didn’t know where. It’s astonishing how through the writing we sometimes see more than we saw.”
Ellen Doré Watson

Thin Ice

Reedy striations don’t occlude the beneath—
earthy mash of leaves, flat pepper flakes, layered,

tips protruding, tender-desolate above a mirror
surface, gently pressing on horse-mane, nest material,

tickle-brush, fringe. Buff block-shapes further down,
ghost-bits of green-green, a lone leaf burned white.

My thrown stone skitters on ice. The next, larger,
plunks through and for a moment I am a violator

but then I see it opened a bubble cell, a city,
a lesion, a map—the way in cold and luminous.

Copyright © 2016 by Ellen Doré Watson. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on January 11, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2016 by Ellen Doré Watson. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on January 11, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.

Ellen Doré Watson

Ellen Doré Watson

Ellen Doré Watson was born in Glen Cove, New York, in 1950 and earned both a BA and an MFA from the University of Massachusetts. Her first poetry collection, We Live in Bodies, was published by Alice James Books in 1997.