When the wind picked up it formed a path
sometime after ten. We were never lonely then
and followed the night air’s channel.
In the pitch-dark we found our body
of water. While fishing I hoped we caught
nothing—even though we wouldn’t see
the blood reddening the snow. I loved
the slush, one blackhole, axing our way
to sky / water / stars, how the ice broke
beneath us. Instead of sinking we drifted
away on the thickest slab, puffing the air
but seeing no breath, shadow-pines
staining the river. Like the wind
my mind goes many places; it’s hard to sleep
when the floating world owes you nothing.
In the morning our ice drift arrived
at an old barn, with barbed wire gnarled
between bent poles, and mountains: a stiff blue.
Snow sagged the barn’s roof. Thousands
of berries were gleaming red, like
the blood of once-caught fish.
She came from California, my aunt
(not my aunt). Her eyebrows were ferns
in the watered mirror. Hair waist-length,
another lump on the edge of her scalp.
I was told she looks like you, I was told
she had a tumor (in time removed)
as a child. In the brain, a strange
new coral. A fungus whose bands
bloomed outward in spring. Hard
calcite cracked from the cave, moss
plucked off from shallow roots.
She never was the same, left home.
Saturn is dark in the door’s thin frame.
Another orbit, (the same) small moon.
Ana Pugatch is a Pushcart-nominated poet. She received her M.F.A. from George Mason University, where she was awarded the ’20- ’21 Poetry Heritage Fellowship. Before then she lived in Asia, teaching English in China and Thailand. Ana’s work has been featured in journals such as Literary Shanghai and The Los Angeles Review. Her first book Engrams will be released by Redhawk Publications in 2022.