As Us

A Space for Writers of the World

Laura Da – Poetry

Cryptic Clicks


Giddy with his new discovery

of measurement, my son dips


a discarded plastic zip tie into the water.

He drags a diamond into the sand


with his heel, surveys the receding tide

in a frenzy then shucks his shoes


to climb the silver fluke of a scuffed statue.

Two women near the swings


sip coffee and squint into the horizon

as they debate The Indian Child Welfare Act.


J Pod is sometimes sighted

in the deep channel off Alki Beach,


speaking a language, scientists hypothesize,

unique unto itself.


The smallest of the two women

tugs at her top and shivers,


latching an infant to her breast

then zipping her back


into the neoprene shell of her ski coat.

Chilled and tired, my son


raises his arms to be carried.

At our feet, two girls sing


a call and response from a pre-school cartoon:

Shapes are everywhere.


They sit toe to toe in the sandbox

rolling a ball back and forth.


They’re in everything we chose to see.

Like me, like them, my son


tends to follow statements

with a laid back affirmative.

Northwestern:  you know what I mean?

After his birth, I pumped milk


all through the early mornings

with one manic eye


to the nature documentaries on Nova.

Scratchy footage from the year of my birth


showed marine park employees

catching juvenile whales in the Puget Sound.


My own output was meager and lavender skim.

One time in ten,


fumbling exhausted, I poured the milk

straight into the bottle, plastic liner forgotten


so that it splashed weakly

across the granite countertop,


rendering the weak, synthetic wail

that could be programed into the breast pump


to enhance the let-down reaction, unnecessary.

When I was small,


my mom once confessed

her great wish


to jump from the back

of a ferry and swim


back to her childhood

vacation home on Orcas Island.


My finger traced the white spots

on a killer whale key chain


as she talked, stunned by her audacity

to yearn for anything but me.


LauraDa Headshot BW2Laura Da’ is a poet and a public school teacher.  A lifetime resident of the Pacific Northwest, Da’ studied creative writing at the University of Washington and The Institute of American Indian Arts.  Da’ is an enrolled member of the Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma.  She has published poems in Prairie Schooner, Hanging Loose, The Iowa Review, and elsewhere.   Her first chapbook,The Tecumseh Motel, is soon to be published in Effigies II, and the University of Arizona Press will publish her first full-length manuscript, Tributaries, in 2015. Da’ lives near Seattle with her husband and son.


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Issue 3February 14, 2014
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