The 2River View 24.2 (Winter 2020)

Erika Nestor

At Pictured Rocks After Her Death

To sail out on myself and carve my own:
As usual only the want is left, to be solid like a lake.

Bile or tears as we sail by a lighthouse, hot chocolate,
the beautiful water. I feel a hand yank back my hair.

My copper nerves taste of fish and pine. Cameras agape,
interfering and clicking the cold air,

exactly what we expected but also not. Streaks of iron
and limonite burrow into the sand with imprecise hunger

or whatever else I want to impose, for the emotion’s mine,
unconformable and easy to erode. Such richness in the scarlet-grey stone!

I squint to focus on the guide pointing at surficial deposits
crowned by groves of dying beech. Lovers Leap.

The high sun stares me straight in the gut, glances
across green water. This wooden cradle rocks me. Where is she?


Half asleep, I read you a piece of news about Neil Armstrong on the moon (as he is forever in our minds) where he collected a trace amount of moondust for scientific sampling, moonwalked several small steps back to Apollo and flew home, but left some moondust in a lunar bag in the spaceship.

It was as thin and sweet as burnt sugar, granular as plaster, and it smelled of gunpowder, a thick layer of static cling covering the lunar world.

In 2016 that moondust sold for 1.8 million, but they appraised it at 2 to 4, so that’s actually a good deal, I whispered into your ear, and you blinked as though I’d worn you out, so I read on silently about the crushed silicon dioxide glass produced when meteoroids strike the surface, which explains the gunpowder scent, something light and bright born in the impact, but that doesn’t account for the value, how the moondust market rises and plunges like all the rest.

That night I had a dream about taking a train to the moon to make our fortune, but you wouldn’t go with me, even in my dream, so what’s the moon to me?

Erika Nestor received her MFA from the Helen Zell Writers’ Program, where she is now a Zell Fellow in poetry. Her work has appeared in LEVELER.

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