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by Laura Parker Roerden

I awoke to a moonlit hayfield, as if entering a dream.
A bobcat, crouched in dried grass, was staring at me.
I watched back, his frighteningly large
outline a shadow, his two eyes amulets.

I was handed something by the oddly comforting figure.
He lifted the full moon from the edge of the now bloody hayfield,
turned it on its edge in a confusing confluence of planes
and then handed it to me with a sly look that reflected like Narcissus

in a pool created by moon now square
to the field. “Be all that you are,” he whispered,
as he handed me that sliver upended, a magician with a coin,
suddenly appearing as if from nowhere.

I looked inward and saw vast ocean,
a starry night contained; I spacewalked underwater
and swam beside sharks, returned flecks of seahorses
to eelgrass, where they held firm to oncoming tide.

I drifted in currents with turtles pulled by a magnet
home to make nests, where we lumbered on land
as if held down by memory and rock, until eggs lay glimmering
where light could guide hatchlings back to the sea.

I awoke when the bobcat stamped once with his paw,
and lept back into brush, leaving heaves
of grass, waves upon waves undulating,
sheaves folding, and then unfolding the dark

’til all was amber: his coat, the grass, the quickening
light. Blood seeped back into earth, covered now by stone.

Laura Parker Roerden is the founding director of Ocean Matters and the former managing editor of Educators for Social Responsibility and New Designs for Youth Development. She serves on the boards of Women Working for Oceans (W20) and Earth, Ltd. and is a member of the Pleiades Network of Women in Sustainability. She lives on her fifth generation family farm in MA.

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