The National Poetry Review

Liza Katz Duncan

BAYSHORE ELEGY

Cars hiss on the wet streets. Rain dissipates the smell
of low tide, dried seaweed. The bay
spits up a tire swing: sunsick
rubber, split rope.

You’d have to be crazy to call home
a strip of sand that will be underwater
in fifty years and oh,

my God, what does that make me?
Before slag and smelt and lead, this was clam country.
Then, during Prohibition, a causeway for bootleg,
the bottles dumped overboard at the sight of police.

Even now, barefoot, you might cut your feet
on hundred-year-old glass the bay purged.
I lean against the window, listen

for another rush of rain. I shouldn’t
be here: I’ve come home
the way rain returns to the earth only
to become runoff, to take with it whatever it can carry.

But don’t misunderstand: I’ll carry this
when the bay takes it all back: Call of the grackle,
whine of the turkey vulture. Blighted clams,

raw and red in their half-shells.
The harbor, insistent where it shifts against the gravel,
where turning cars leave, in their wake, infinity signs.


LIZA KATZ DUNCAN is an MFA candidate at Warren Wilson College, a 2021 Pushcart nominee and a 2017 recipient of an Amy Award from Poets and Writers. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in AGNI, About Place, the Journal of New Jersey Poets, Poetry Northwest, Poet Lore, Sugar House Review, and elsewhere.

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