Apartment Poetry Quarterly

16A              16B              16C              16D              16E              16F






on the east coast in winter     above or below the tide-line

one walks in water or in mud     there is no dry land i

clam holes in mud

& sand— why not

look to that like the sky—

winter fishery

tradition says clams are common property

& the flats unleasable—

birds try & fail to gyre— at least

for a while— the middle of the water is a window





the sky spangled with crows

a night body of water

serrated wrack     saw wrack     toothed wrack

dulse spiraled tidy into

a whole universe ii— bladderwrack

is a cunt in the granite—

textured     uncertain driftlines

things aren’t always so

conscientious as to draw

their soft edges for us





we move singularly like

a liquid — soft shallows

what if instead of horizon

lines we read low

drain tides     boats soft aground     the middle

littoral sugar kelp woven — I will never have

enough I say to your

sleeping inscrutable shape

snow on snow     snow

on snow     fallow waves





find your V     goose

whirl the fuck up

warm winter windows

ladybugs on them

oyster comma

oyster ear

half a conch crown

clam fan light

my oldest hears sounds that I

cannot — including the sky





the sky keeps bright

eyes on us — we

look up into the cold

the tide makes

a friction like

a song in glass

that is     the tide sings

while it spins in glass iii

so deep midwinter the light turns iron

there is no end to your tongue





at this time of a winter’s day one can see

the light turn & begin to flake & burn iv

& while it’s a turn I always notice

something far away changes key

there is no perfect

line except the wrackline

which is infallible

it’s too cold to do

anything complicated

come to bed     come to bed     come to bed





in marginalia season—

hawkless salt-hag

the tide adds or subtracts

a causeway— a lightening

line between the deeper

blues & though I

look with adoration at these

lines for hours

nothing comes

back to me





seastruck grid of skies

a whole year— more

skies than days v

in five days I saw

at least sixty skies —

gray wool—broken orange


gray cool—boyfull—clearing blue—

mirror calm—gentle cloud commas—

whirled up storm waves—





a calendar of salt & tides

& birds scything the full sky

it took me so long to write this

it’s over — but that’s

the way with everything we

say in unison with briny

tongues— tide me

over — if you put

something in a circle—         no one

will want to cross it





I don’t even know what’s good

anymore— I only know

what makes a pause— even

the smallest stop in the relentless

present tense —

wery so water to wore

weary as water on the shore vi —

the ocean told us

how we felt & who

were we to argue





—December 2020 - March 2021





i J.A. Baker, The Peregrine, “December 3rd”

ii after the work with seaweed by Jeannet Leendertse

iii after Luke Jerram’s acoustic installation / sculpture Tide

iv J.A. Baker, The Peregrine, “December 21st”

v after Mary Burger’s Skies of 2020

vi wery so water to wore is from the Harley Lyric beginning “Betwene Mersh and Averil”; the translation here is Eleanor Parker’s