From An Album: Holding to Center
by MELANIE REITZEL



How well I know you not waving goodbye. The photo—an old rowboat tied to a dock—the picture you’re not in, only a morning where you’d once been. None of you, earlier, stepping into the frame as your body wobbles to keep its balance—as you hold the cigarette, let go of a laugh.
   
Not your hands around the oars: seriously, now, pulling—the strain, the ease—up through the shoulders—all offset by the push from your thighs.  No knuckle scar or its back-and-forth slide over the bony hill, not your arm veins ropey, raised and gnarled. No soft flannel sleeves certainly rolled to the elbows, or your breath, unseen, over the water, held and released.
                        
All this I can’t see as you row to the middle, where you wait for nothing, where you do not drift. And not me, behind on the shore, all we know regardless of distance that doesn’t need seeing, what’s always there. Waving, waving, we don’t disappear.

By day, MELANIE REITZEL is a maternity nurse specialist in lactation and by night, an MFA candidate in Creative Writing at San Francisco State University. Her work has appeared in Agumsfa, Poet Lore, the North American Review (which nominated a prose poem series for a Pushcart Prize), Panhandle; a recent memoir "The Brace God of India," appeared   in the spring issue of ZYZZYVA. A prose poem is forthcoming in The Black Boot.