Poetry by Jael
by jael bietsch

All the way to your house I watched
Illinois receding in my mirror.
The trees are taller in Michigan
and your beach finally
three doors down.
I don't remember driving home.

Frost on the green this morning,
leaves fall like helicopters
from the Maple, spinning
in and out of sunlight. Keilyn and I
walk beside the creek afternoons.
She carries a paper sack
and pushes hands full of sun
burnt leaves and cicada and acorn
shells to the bottom. It's harvest
now the air smells like leaf

She wants to rake leaves together in piles
like shells on your beach, tide that shouldn't be
tide pushed onto the sand, treasure
pushed full into sacks,
shells and broken glass worn smooth
in your shallow lake. The tree
with its roots on top of the sand,
like thick branches snaking
across the shore. We could see whole
shells on the bottom
from the end of the pier and waves
broken over rocks in strange currents.

Still with me that windy afternoon
at the State Park, where the sand was
cold in the shadows of trees
and we went back
and forth across the beach, searching
for treasure in the sand. Me searching
for the perfect words, you to capture
the perfect picture, Keilyn turning
perfect cartwheels in the sand

gulls wheeling
above her as she ran
in and away from her shadow
arms out at her sides.

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    ©: 1995 Jael Bietsch

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    March 8, 2000