Near the Lake

In the desk drawer. Of immigrant parents. Papers. Never lose documents. Loose documents. Could be sent home. That’s your home. The place you left. So long ago. On a ship. Entered here. Without language. Or shoes. I imagine you now. And can see you then. Taste. Tasted. Tested at entry. Body quiz. Mind quiz. And her. Angst her. Anger. Immunization. Shot. Didn’t see real land until you were grown. Woman. Everyone had long hair. Late ‘60s and you. Were no exception in your new home. But not yours. Home folded up in the desk drawer. A person in uniform. In the photograph.


Sea level comes into a life. My life. Enters on the phone. Uses words. Uses “ha ha.” Uses “I.” Hope and finger cross like legs. Says he’s around. Says I’ll. Says he’ll. Try. Hell. Takes something from my gut. Takes grit. Takes my grits. Pulls girl like a tooth from a navel. Tooth. In it. Novel. A trove. Noël. Shovel. A t-shirt. A caution. Caution tape. Finger pad. Finger nails clipped with. He left with my navel. No fire. Wires of the police make me wait. Hours. With police. 2-4 hours of making me wait. Make me. Miss. They call me miss. 24 hours to report a thing missing. There’s a law about reporting a part of your life. Of yourself. Gone. Missing. Like a fish. Like a fishing trip. A fishing trip where someone goes missing.


Ashleigh Allen is a graduate of The New School’s MFA program and has been teaching in New York City and Toronto since 2010. She is currently a PhD student at OISE, University of Toronto. 

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