Inventory of Ramparts
The pier shed its long
splinters into the lake.
A dinghy rubbed the side of the dock
but the dock was still.
Some kids ditched a canoe in the reeds
—the boy’s voice was a reed—
they pulled it up the embankment by a rope
where no one could see it from water
or shore. His voice covered everything.
This isn’t an opportunity to talk about the body,
how many dogs you get to have over
the course of a life. I’d reckon 6, if you take
good care of them. I’m going back in time
to hold the boy’s head underwater.
Just to give him a little scare. The canoe
had vanished when they returned
and his voice became a basket
pushed down a river—nothing specific—
and anyway, this isn’t an occasion to talk
about the body. I’m busy going, I need
to go, back through those boggy years to kiss
all of the dogs. Hard, on the mouth.
Copyright © 2019 by Paige Ackerson-Kiely. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.