Turtle Dancers in Green Water , for my mother!

The day after my mother died
I rowed a wooden boat
coasted past cattails on the shore
broken and withered in the faded sun
drifted past the island 
where turtles sunned themselves 
on twisted knots of rotting logs
one by one they slid off
like ballerinas at a barre
sinking into the murk

Mother, I grew under your heart
a liquid bolt of dreams
with a Gypsy soul
I grew wild, chased
chimeras and tricksters
while you grew afraid

Your love could not hold me
so feral and angry 
I battered myself against the world

Now I’ve returned
algae clings to the oars
that dip and push me through 
languid waters

Grief feels familiar as a cat
as the wind and moon
as your hands soothing my forehead
as a green lake


Jordan Clary spent six months in northeastern India as a Fulbright scholar where she was privileged to meet some of the editors of this new online journal. She currently lives in California where she works as a writer and photographer for the newspaper, The Lassen County Times. She is working on a book, which includes her experiences in India. Her website is www.jordanclary.com