I always think it’s aspens here
but maybe it’s cottonwoods
you can’t really tell
unless the seeds are falling
and we are way past that now.

Between the leaves flipping and knocking
in the wild rush off the lake
and the pounding of the archers
on their targets behind you
an odd space opens for the clatter

clatter of halyards to surface
and you are brought back
to those sleepless nights
halyards clanging all hours
over your damp bunk

you learn right away
it is not soothing after all,
except in your memories.
So you stand here now
soothed back to your wits.

I wonder should I apologize
for being fit to be tied
or perhaps no one really noticed,
me being overwrought in regret,
over-precious with shame, on end.

The girl unpacks her quivers,
eager and true, combs her hair
back, checks her bow, aims –
a miracle of compression –
and releases, again, again, again