lena’s summer house in rockport
BY CASSIE PRUYN
On a thin protrusion of Massachusetts rock
surrounded on three sides by sea
down a U-shaped street abutting the beach
in a shingled house among shingled houses
locked up for winter
chilly and silent except for the hum
of empty refrigerators
in a room at the end of the hall—Lena’s room—
we slept. By morning
we had set ourselves adrift
on a white raft on a gray sea
the cold of which
was a fact that couldn’t touch us.
Our little raft
kept twirling and reversing fore
and aft above us a swaying
forest of masts
smooth as polished bone.
From somewhere along Route 127
Lena’s mother approached.
A neighbor had spotted our car.
Meanwhile off the port bow a buoy konged
and Lena all skin
among scattered pillows
a valiant amateur sailor
began the slow descent along my belly
into the sheets’ folds
where nervous at first
she would soon taste the salt of the sea lapping
against the damp-dark hull of the boat.