Estuary Poem By Julie Fay

Estuary Poem By Julie Fay

All winter we’ve been wheezing
gasping nights for breath.
Lace-edged, brackish, never freezing,
outside, the river crests.

Gasping nights for breath,
I sit upright, listen:
outside, the river crests;
inside, your breath glistens.

I sit upright and listen
for it: are you still or still breathing
inside? Your breath glistens
with the humidifier’s misty heaving.

Are you? Still? You are still breathing!
We’ll learn the names of birds
with the humidifier’s misty heaving
background music to our words.

We learn to name the birds:
now you, at four, know grebes’
background music. Our new words:
coots’ velvet necks, white beaks.

You, at four, know grebes,
grosbeaks, finches, buffleheads
and coots’ velvet necks, white beaks.
We watch them mornings from the bed.

Grosbeaks, finches, buffleheads,
the busy estuary thrives.
We watch mornings from the bed.
The river nursery, en masse, rise.

Today, snow geese v’d north overhead.
Lace-edged, brackish, never freezing,
the river overflowed its bed
to end the winter of our wheezing.

Julie Fay
first published in Shenandoah, vol. 49, no. 4, Winter 1999

Estuary Poem By Julie Fay

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