Dive by Madeline Bassnett

Poet name: Madeline Bassnett Poem name: Dive Poem: Sinuous coil and plunge, all morning four tails hopscotching pond scum, mud murk, water- lily gardens. All morning the problem with writing. Muskrats muscle tangled fronds, jaws drip roots and bulbs, heads tip back and munch in warm air. Dive again, writing myself into nothingness. Ripples, all that’s left. The lake lakes. The bullfrogs belch. Thinking about property, fluid body fenced into patches like land. Gypsy moths spin and copulate, caterpillars munch white pine, birch, aspen, July’s green absence. Spinning a whole language of nothingness. That cloudy sheen on the surface, a vortex pulling everything else in. Thirty years ago the moths’ dead bodies slip-coated the roads. Tree branches like open, useless hands. Starving hands, snatching for absent bags of rice. All morning the problem. The cove, the weeds. The muskrats glide, heavy jaws still dripping. I ask the sun what it illuminates. The papery moths. My crowded head. Narrow growth rings marking one more hardscrabble year. End of poem.  Credits and bio:  Copyright © Madeline Bassnett Madeline Bassnett is the author of the full-length poetry collection Under the Gamma Camera (Gaspereau 2019), which was longlisted for the 2020 RCLAS Award. She is also the author of two chapbooks– Pilgrimage (Baseline 2016), and Elegies (Frog Hollow 2011)--and has had poems published most recently in CV2, The Dalhousie Review, The Scales Project, Watch Your Head, and long con magazine. Her recent collaborative work, “After Audubon,” with poet and songwriter Jenny Berkel for the 42x81 series is available at www.tapcreativity.org/42x81/jenny-berkel-x-madeline-bassnett. You can find her on Twitter: @m_bassnett.