A Journal of Poetry and Kindred Prose

Nellie Hill’s

life has taken a long, winding turn through aikido and acupressure and now back to poetry.

She has taught creative writing in the Joint Medical and Humanities Program at UC Berkeley and now has a private acupressure practice in Berkeley.

Her poems have appeared in various journals including Poetry East, American Poetry Review, (with an introduction by Denise Levertov), The Harvard Magazine, Commonweal and Snowy Egret.

Her fourth chapbook is due out from Pudding House in 2008.

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No Change But Change

Each year the lake spreads beneath clouds
that arrive as always every noon if it’s a sunny day,
and the trees lean their dark green into the lake,
as if to bleed their color into the water’s depth
the way I tried to paint them those summer afternoons.
The boathouse now is falling in and the dogs of then are dead;
and my father and his buddy, Uncle Wing Walker,
who gave Earhart her flying license, they’re dead too,
scattered into the lake, into the water’s quiet
that persists, even within its storms.

Over the years the green cloaked shores
remain the same, studded with hemlock and balsam,
fingers of birch, maple, oak, and pine; and in the mud
beneath the season’s frozen water buried leeches
wait for summer, for something to latch onto. And the fish
sleep below the ice, some caught like a photo in the ice itself:
pickerel with their little teeth, yellow-bellied sunfish,
perch with slithery stripes. When the birds have left,
their summer voices abandoned, I lie awake listening,
imitating the barking owl that once I heard for a week straight.

And each year was the summer of sweet corn
or the summer of blueberries, the summer of bare feet
on the worn wooden floors of the open house in the north
in those few good days of endless light;
and the day’s brief heat full of flies; and the cold, the empty cold
that arrives so soon up there beyond where anyone would want to live
unless they could wait and wait all winter long
for each brief summer as we waited for years
before we saw the moose swimming across the lake for lily tubers
or the paw prints of a black bear on our daily road to town.