All the gods in mourning, it reads—
ripple and perennial swell.
The page dressed in brush-stroke estuaries,
the precise place where river turns
to sea in grass and salt flat, tides
that push and pull on the continent’s
tucked-in folds, its peninsula, its bay.
There are painters whose pigment
is allowed to weep,
whose page is allowed its geography
as I am allowed this salted tide.
The mapmaker cries out when river-water
and seawater become one water
and the bottle breaks from holding it in.