Surface Tension

by Annette Sisson

Water striders walk
                        on fluid skin, feet
faintly bending surface,
                        push-back propelling

them forward. Their pads press
                        visible dents into the lake’s
glaze, ingrained on the retina’s
                        membrane. This is not

a miracle. Still. If humans
                        walked on water, would
we ever opt to swim?
                        And if we scurried barefoot

across liquid rind, molecules
                        clumping before each footfall,
would we, at the lake’s deep
                        center, think our questions

answered? Would bullfrogs replace
                         the call to mystery? Would
brain lose its skill
                        for beyond, eyes cease

to measure depth, or even
                        see a strider’s surface
imprint as it skims for the slightest
                        mite, as brief, as tense, as an inkling?

ANNETTE SISSON lives in Nashville, TN, where she is Professor of English at Belmont University, and enjoys traveling (pre-Covid-19), hiking, baking, choral singing, watching birds, and supporting theater. She has published poems in many journals, including Nashville Review, TypishlyOneKAIROS, and Turtle Island Quarterly. She also published a chapbook A Casting Off (2019, Finishing Line). She was named a 2020 BOAAT Writing Fellow, received honorable mention in Passager’s 2019 poetry contest, and won The Porch Writers’ Collective’s 2019 poetry prize. She recently completed her first full-length book of poetry, Small Fish in High Branches, and has begun the quest for a publisher.

Photo: “Itsy Bitsy Spiders” by Steve Corey