Laura Ring


Curtis Pond, 1978


Rust in the mud. Stains our feet to the ankle, yellows
toenails like old-man-fungus. We are too young to care.

Summer afternoons we dive for it, into the green-black pond.
Hands shoehorn earth from its custardy bed.

We are acolytes. Votaries. Cupped palms rise
above our heads like a chalice, an offering

of fine ointment, laid out on planks of cedar
to anoint our limbs, yellow hair, neon swimsuits.

We stretch to compass points on the dock. Clay dries tight
around us, cracks like shells at our creases, joints. Bakes its rust

right into our skin, like our skin was waiting for it – the way
a lobster’s blue finds its own true red: it is the heat that releases us.

We have outgrown our shells. In the water once more, we slip
from our casings; surface altered, marked, let the wind call us home.

We part the weeds like Moses – a wave of our hands.
Even the ferns bend willingly at our golden feet.  


Laura Ring is a native Vermonter, currently living and working in Chicago. She writes poetry and non-fiction. You can visit her at


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