Dream of the Lake, by Caroline M. Mar


You are not the sea, but I confuse you

with the sea, awash in the blood

beneath my skin

What are the sailor’s tools

What burns me to the touch


Slip knot

Bowline knot

Better to know a knot


On your surface, my skin darkens

all summer, bloodbrown

like a tree’s rough bark

My unanswered questions

uprooted and sky-turned

Clove hitch

Sheet bend

and not need it


Here: let me anchor you

I can’t say blood blooms, as if

it weren’t the other way around

I’m no fish,

you’re no ocean


Rolling hitch

Stopper knot

than to need a knot


I see you looking at me, my blood

gutters, gathering

like baubles off a broken string

I an unspooled skein,

a daughter unmoored

and not know it





Caroline Mei-Lin Mar is the author of Special Education (Texas Review Press) and the forthcoming chapbook Dream of the Lake (Bull City Press). A high school health educator in San Francisco, she is doing her best to keep her gentrified hometown queer and creative. Carrie is a graduate of the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College, an alumna of VONA, and a member of Rabble Collective. She has been granted residencies at Hedgebrook, Ragdale, and VSC, among others.