It was summer and I was floating,
higher, higher, like a lost balloon --
untethered, trying to touch sunspots
or maybe flares -- blown by the breath
of an awestruck God and briefly
reaching for a passing tree, remembering
being twelve, hands out a car window,
brushing others' outside-rear-view
mirrors with bruised finger-tips, until I passed
above a crow, his burnished
black back refracting greens and
blues like an oil-slick, like I always
imagined cormorants' feathers
would be as they rose, water-gilded
from the phosphorescent sea to give
back their hard-earned gift of fish
to the man who encircled their banded neck,
and with a thud I hit the earth,
a dead fish slapping on the boat's bottom.

© Jessica Minier Mabe