Cory Gatrall

Sanctuary, Omega

The waterbug takes his small life
lightly, etching the pond.  Anything
might happen here; the suspense
could kill you.

A frog rockets muddily upward,
leaping for the rippled sun. He will
catch it, if he can, and bring it home 
to read the news by. Who’s born,
who’s died, who’s shed their skin.
Life is a greedy thing. Below
in spotted weeds drift silk-finned fish,
coyly kissing the silt. They wish to know
nothing but the easy rocking
swinging them near enough
to taste the bait, but not so close
as to catch the hook. The frog has missed
the sun again. It warms the bottom still.
Smug as a clock, the catfish grins.  

The swallow, sharp-eyed,
single-minded, dips to fracture
the murky world and rise again.


Woman in the second pandemic August – Chequessett

In the midst of a surge I bring my mother to the sea
To the cove, she corrects me, a place of safety,
where the marsh grass sieves the water green
and black cormorants unfold each morning 

on the rails of a disused boat, wings spread
to dry   Like old men in a coffee shop, she says,
a popular spot, where horseshoe crabs line up
to die, beating their tails in the foam 

We’ve come so far these last long months, now
down the wooden steps where the rail gives out
she grips my wrist, steps into the waiting sea
which fills the cove, which is the cove, 

cupped by dunes the rising tide
still finds us, holding on

Cory Ellen Gatrall is a public health/sexual & reproductive health nurse, as well as a scholar exploring the history of nursing and medicine. She earned her MFA from Sarah Lawrence College quite a while back.