Circe


By Lauren Ubbing

I.

We sober sleep
under the red and green lights
dotting the Straits of Mackinac

suspended metal. Her whisper
slick and soft as willowherb.
Slender flowers tower
colonies of beach grass
along the rocky shore where
two water bodies touch.

II.

Kayaks scuffed and strapped.
In the back, a flashlight
flickering indigo
LED on empty cans and bottles.

III.

Our tent is a mansion
in the Hiawatha woods,
open-throated primrose
blooms kiss the canvas,
licking crystal dew.
Sharp fuchsia flecks of
enchanter’s nightshade sugared
with lost sand from Lake Huron.

IV.

A glance, and camping men
drop—crawl away on raw palms,
scabbed knees, tumbling—
becoming hunched, rabid
four-leggeds with fangs, crooked
hocks, chestnut manes. Mucus-
slobbery, stalking animal-dom,
rotten air in their marrow.

We laugh at them. Our limbs
weave together—new roots.

V.

Sound of her eyelashes fluttering
against my right temple.
We fly. We burrow

naked in a sleeping bag—
I’m dragged into the burr-sticky
underworld, dripping crimson
petals, thick opiate mist.

Dusk, us salt-swimming into algae
gowns below the shaky ivory
that streaks the inland lake.

VI.

Long hike, lungs hot.

She is a bug-bitten milk pillar
erect on the edge—rickety
sandstone cliff. Leaked minerals
paint what the tourists floating
a calm Superior want to see.

Wind fights through velvet
hair, slicks heavy August heat
along her outstretched arm.
At the end of it, gripped
in chipped gold nails,
a cup—dented and stained

Styrofoam from that morning’s
gas station mocha, microscopic
suns reflected on the sleeve.

VII.

She sets it off soaring, surfing
a cloudy downslope, shooting
stars into a hissing whitecap.
The lake looks so much more
violent—light drowning in it—
banging manganese, spit-up
blotches of copper and iron.


Lauren Ubbing is an undergraduate student of English at Ohio State University. She eventually would like to obtain an MFA in poetry. This is her first published work.