Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Galleywinter #37 - Tamara Madison

The Salton Sea

We used to water ski there —
my mother and brother cruising
over the wake, he leaning
shoulder to the salt-thick sea;
my sister and I gripping the rope,
bouncing along in the wake,
pretending it was fun; our father,
a monolith rising, scowling,
from the water, the edifice
of his body crashing back
into the brine. In time, the water
grew brown and gave off
a fetid smell. Corvina began
to arrive — long, white, belly-up
dry-gilled — along the muddy
shore and we soon found our water
elsewhere. But from our living
room, if I stood tall, I could see
that foul cesspool of a lake
shimmering in the sunlight.

Tamara Madison is the author of the chapbook "The Belly Remembers" as well as two full-length volumes of poetry, "Wild Domestic" and "Moraine" (in which this poem appears), all published by Pearl Editions. Her work has appeared in numerous literary journals in the U.S. and abroad, including Pearl, Chiron Review, Nerve Cowboy, Linnets Wings, The Writer's Almanac and others. She is thrilled to have recently retired from teaching English and French in a Los Angeles high school.

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