[p. 27.  Key words:  pores, white powder, jet-black, 
dirty white, brackish]



Nancy Pagh

Balanus glandulus Darwin


Estuary brain.  Brackish mix of salt
and fresh water, consciousness
un-.  Slow No Wake
painted on signs in the harbor.
Maybe your fingers in the soft
underhairs of cat at your hip,
muddy purr of your snore or light
penetrating the pores of a curtain
pulls you into the day ahead
but your mind’s tapping white powder
onto the fingerprints of a dream
and swimming back down to read
the hieroglyphics of a cabin in snow
where you live with a former student
and have been out shopping all day
for mushrooms to make him a soup
for his birthday.  He is himself
but also Kramer from Seinfeld
and lies in the bed you share
pretending to be asleep though some
little dog is yapping and follows you
into the bathroom where it has peed
its urine prodigiously on dirty
white and jet-black tiles.  But you’re holding
on to something else down there, not
the words and numerals written
on Kramer-Student-Lover’s pants
as he stands in the doorway now,
nor his goofy delicious beautiful grin,
but the loop of cotton towels in his arms
and his gallant promise to soak it all up.



Nancy Pagh burst on to the literary scene as a teenager, publishing “Is a Clam Clammy, Or Is It Just Wet?” in a local boating magazine.  Since then she has authored three collections of (more serious) poetry; her volume No Sweeter Fat was selected by Tim Seibles to win the Autumn House Press book prize and Once Removed was recently added to the MoonPath Press poetry series curating and promoting the best of Northwest poetry.  She is the author of a creative writing textbook called Write Moves (Broadview Press, 2016) and her work appears in many print and online journals (Prairie Schooner, Crab Creek Review, Bellingham Review, Poetry Northwest, Rattle, and O: the Oprah magazine among them) and anthologies.  Nancy has performed in national and international reading series such as the Gist Street Master’s series in Pittsburgh, the Skagit River Poetry Festival in LaConner, and the Cross-Border Pollination series in Vancouver, B.C.  She has been the D. H. Lawrence Fellow at the Taos Summer Writers Conference, a recipient of an Artist Trust Fellowship, and was runner-up (of over 4,000 poems) for the Wergle Flomp humor poem contest.  She teaches at Western Washington University in Bellingham.  More at www.nancypagh.com.

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