Winter Landscape

A woman is / turned into a lake she is

           secretly pleased. Great blue herons
are moving across the sky / and the body

of this twisted oak its / arrowed branches / flung
           in every direction / is now
leafless / so that its outstretched
           arms do not / run the risk / of breaking
their own weight / cold sweat poured down

my imprisoned limbs wherever / I moved my foot
           a pool gathered
/ that this water could
bruise me my voice / caught in bird-call I
           want you to put me in the ground
with my mouth open / and when we say earth

we mean human
           earth / foxes have no history
transcripts / know not how their great grandparents
           died / and who among us / records / the continual

losses / it is lighter / to be fleshless / a beetle colony
           takes three months to eat / a white dog clean
like a hymn / say / I will be taken / knowing
           the bones will remain.

*The first line of this poem is inspired by Jia Tolentino’s New Yorker Article “How a Woman
Becomes a Lake.” The other italicized portions of this poem are taken from Ovid’s
Metamorphoses, when the nymph Arethusa recounts how Ceres, the river god, tried to rape her
and as she was fleeing from him, she turned into a lake.