Who knows why the bay was that color

By Rose Auslander

Maybe it was hot, I was out of work & the car actually started, maybe I didn’t
even think to bring a towel, just drove & walked into the water, walked in &
let my feet rise, floating in salt & seaweed, fishlike, minnows darting below me,
maybe that’s why I got to lie like I belonged in a horizon of water smooth as
the sky, a rich silk luxury of blue, early evening in Paris blue, the blue of the
Comtesse d’Haussonville’s opera dress, not the way it was, trapped in fabric,
but how Ingres painted it, the way it still looks even in the print in my room,
faint ripples flowing smooth in reflection, the kind of blue you’d wear & your
bank account would never run low or maybe if it did you wouldn’t notice,
or wouldn’t care, that rich Comtesse blue ferrying me seaward, blurring the
smells of suntan lotion & fries, the echoes of men loud on phones, into the
holiday happiness of striped umbrellas & beach chairs & who knows, maybe
the Comtesse herself sunbathing right here at Sandy Neck, floating in time, sure,
just a day at the beach like any other day, maybe, the way if you didn’t look,
you might think the water was just blue.

Rose Auslander lives on Cape Cod. Obsessed with water but unable to walk on sand, she is the author of the book Wild Water Child, the chapbooks Folding Water, Hints, and The Dolphin in the Gowanus, and poems in the Berkeley Poetry Review, Baltimore Review, RHINO, Tinderbox, and Tupelo Quarterly.

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