Ridges in my fingernails––
worrisome trenches, etchings that
presage diseases and loss, niches where
suspicion insinuates itself. Instead I summon:
ridges of my knuckles, thumb-tucked fists,
taut brown skin tallowed over the bone
as I brace to take on the icy lake,
to punch the water’s skin;
my small cupped fingers
when I tug the flood, and all the
ridges of my ribs in their shaking cage,
heart knocking hard on its horizontal bars.
Sand bars plait the bottom of the lake,
looming grooves in a gaping mouth;
I will myself to be a gilled-girl,
Wake upon the water
corrugates like rippled steel.
Between my breaths I hear the wind
thimbling the ridges of washboard grey.
In undulant swells of remembering I float,
golden-headed, blending into sunsets,
my fingers digging liquid furrows,
tilling summer, planting these
memories of when I was
unafraid of omens
in the ridges
in my nails.
Laurie Koensgen lives in Ottawa, Canada where she advocates for the Arts. Her poems have appeared in Arc Poetry Magazine, Literary Review of Canada, Barren Magazine, Juniper: A Poetry Journal, Kissing Dynamite, Burning House Press, Black Bough Poetry, and elsewhere. She was shortlisted for The Malahat Review’s Far Horizons Award for Poetry 2018, and received Honourable Mentions in Arc’s Diana Brebner Prize 2018 and The New Quarterly’s Occasional Verse Contest 2019. Laurie is a founding member of the Ruby Tuesdays poetry collective. @EkeLore.