sporklet 15
Uma Dwivedi
Aisling at the Ballard Locks
after Aria Aber

I am once again in love with a woman who does not love me back—but it’s

all good. This time her skin is mist. Only real as sight.


She’s of the bay I watch, Northwest Seattle, vision or ghost I cannot tell.

It doesn’t matter. I love the lilt of her wrists. The blade of her


breath twists in me like grief. The scrape of her voice irrevocable as she rises

from a bay that used to be saltwater, from a lake once 8 feet


taller. One million people come to the locks every year. I am one such voyeur.

It is a peculiar machine, the water level controlled by concrete


doors that open and shut, boats passed along, the sea risen and dropped. Lake

Union crouches to Puget Sound and so she bends to sorrow.


The locks fill and she rises with the next passerby. She’s a changeable woman.

Rowdy as guilt. Tender as a gun unfired. Angry as a wound.


Wound: this land is Coastal Salish. Duwamish. There’s blood in the water, the

concrete, the wood. Water passed from sound to lake, hand


to hand—one ship sent, then another. Rivers were wrenched from the earth

for this. Salmon tried to flee. Let me not in my love for


the water turn from all blood. Let me not pump meaning cruel as gasoline.

She that I love is a vision. She sings in a language I do not know.


Perhaps an elegy or an ode—a work song, a song of war. It is not mine to say.

It is not mine to question, to beg forgiveness, to look away.

Uma Dwivedi is a rising junior at Yale University. They are originally from Seattle, Washington. They have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize by Black Warrior Review. Other previous and forthcoming publications include Muzzle Magazine, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Cosmonaut’s Avenue, the minnesota review, and Diode Poetry Journal.