The Springs

Laura Sobbott Ross is a widely published award-winning poet whose work has appeared in more than 100 literary journals. In addition to four Pushcart Prize nominations, she was a finalist for the Art & Letters Poetry Prize and won the Southern Humanities Auburn Witness Poetry Prize. She has published two chapbooks, A Tiny Hunger and My Mississippi, and a third book, The Graffiti of Pompeii, is scheduled for publication this year.

The Springs

Not ocean—
the way it slaps and chides you,
before you manage
to walk drunkenly out of it,
or the city pool
where you might ladder out
with someone else’s gum
on your shoulder.
No, these currents gurgle up
from the limestone cistern of Florida,
a pure, full blooded cold.
Manatee-d at least every January
when water and air
temperatures inverse.
Oh, to be startled,
to feel the turtle grass
feathery against your skin,
to be goose bumped and glorified
in waters smoothed by walls
pressed with fossils. Dip me under.
Pull me back up into this hot light.
A savage sawgrass shore throwing hooks.
But even the alligators have scattered.
Parting the lily pads, you wonder
at the inception, a green ciliated cave—
a don’t-ask darkness you try
to lay your too buoyant face next to
until you can’t breathe.
All those secrets weeping out
and floating you downstream.

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