Landscape, Girdled Mostly by Hills

When you grow up in a city with a man-
made lake, you do not learn to swim.

You learn to lean into the oars and pull,
all the while facing the creaky dock. This

is one way to move forward, to set into motion,
to look as if you know where you're going.

Overhead, a sky filters through willow leaves.
Streetlamps are only streetlamps and not a row

of gavels preparing judgment. Your ancestors
still sleep under bedspreads tufted with fog

and pine needles. Unlike you, they never wanted
to climb over the teacup's rim. You know a god

doesn't linger there or strike a spoon,
giving off lightning sparks. Your eyes

have learned to adjust to light; your hands,
between the makeshift screen and the source, 

still remember how to make the shapes for
dragonfly and bird, fish and trembling hare.

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