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Ilana Baer

Shoreline Cartography

Again the liquid map 

     unscrolls itself, 

          the distant murk of the mind

              now clarified and close, 

describing for half an instant

     foamy peaks, 

          criss-crossed creeks, 

              rippling canyons. 

Each new now 

     calls the others obsolete, 

          so that nothing in this world

              escapes revision. 

Sud-countries become 

     archipelagos; straits wriggle free

          of constraints; an abalone glow

              swallows sand. 

How many drafts 

     drain away in an hour? 

          How many proofs 

              laid out on old latitudes? 

Only tide will tell 

     when the driftwood compass

          aims for 

              infallible north.

Ilana Baer is a poet and language teacher from Northern California. She hopes to one day be poet laureate of fruit.

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