I walk into this water
as if entering a great cathedral,
massive doors left open
so all can be called by the music inside.
My bare feet absorb the piercing chill
until my calves, goose-bumped thighs
grow numb enough for me to dive
into the steel-blue surf toward
the farthest buoy. I touch this barnacled altar
before I turn back, my body dazzled
by cold. My blood shudders, settles again.
Swimming between earth and sky,
I am part of the immense tide, pulled
by the moon. Whoever I thought I was
in my crowded, important life slips away.
Though I am a stranger here, I recognize
prayers these waves are chanting.
I move toward shore, through kelp
that holds fast to the ocean floor,
waving bronze blades toward the sun.

Pam Crow is an award-winning poet who lives in Portland, Oregon. Pam is published in Green Mountain Review, Carolina Quarterly, Ploughshares, and others. She won the Astraea Emerging Lesbian Writers award and the Neil Shepard award for poetry. Her book, Inside This House was published by Main Street Rag press in 2008.