This week’s poem, Judy Kaber’s “Liminality,” contemplates flux in the seasons of the year and of a life. I love this poem’s movement between observation and memory; its gentle, clarion candor; and its gorgeous, timeless final line.

Kaber is currently the poet laureate of the Midcoast city of Belfast, as well as the author of three chapbooks: “Renaming the Seasons,” “In Sleep We Are All the Same” and “A Pandemic Alphabet.” Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in publications such as Atlanta Review, December, Crab Orchard Review, Hunger Mountain and Spillway.

By Judy Kaber

Out the window, the sky, white and beaten tin,
a peek of blue in the distance. Trees stop
their slapdashing, stand sullen from lack of sun.
The house walls keep the sound
of water from me, but I can see the rumble
of white emerging from rocks.

The sailboat encased in plastic
faces the kitchen window. It holds
the plunder of all our voyages—
around Islesboro, through Eggemoggin Reach,
aground on rocks near Isle Au Haut,
a shadow of my own body caught
on the bow, plunging up and down on raw waves.

There was a time when I drank
gin & tonic, sat out on the porch, riven
with sweetness, but that was another house,
another life. The young trees sway
above dead leaves, branch tips swell
in spaces that will soon bloom green.

My favorite tree is the yellow birch
that leans above the stream. Thick roots
cable back, bare above the earth,
washed clean in floods, so much
nourishment lost that way. I don’t blame
the stream, the rain, the melting snow.
Everything needs to move, to grow,
to take the aching journey to the sea.

Megan Grumbling is a poet and writer who lives in Portland. Deep Water: Maine Poems is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. “Liminality,” copyright 2021 by Judy Kaber, appears by permission of the author.

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