By Sarah Castrigano


My parents lived on Lake Erie for a spell, right on the edge.

I would take a ladder down the cliffside when the beach was exposed to find treasure down there. It was a little cove—beautiful and removed. It felt like you were climbing down into another world or somewhere far back in time.

Pilgrimage (Water Prayer)

The ladder is still there,
the big rock holds it
I take it down the cliffside to the water
it’s low enough and the skies are calm.

forgetting time, for a moment.
Devonian shale measures the years thinly
Terrestrial memory
having seen the glory of the first seed bearers,
spore by spore and moving upward and finding earth to hold.

Tendrils of roots hang above,
from them swaths of green moss and spiders webs.
To be beneath the great tree,
I imagine it to be
our Yggdrasil,
Wound around earth by half only and leaning away from her over the water.
I can almost see Odin hanging by his toe
sifting for symbols
and finding transcendence
in reflection
here at an elemental edge.

I imagine I arrived by mermaid fin,
by Viking oar
An immigrant to land
but a native of her body I am
here to recollect
while collecting.
Sifting for things polished and soft
To trap light in a jar,
to bend silver around,
but mostly to remember.

In the air you can feel her tilt into
the magnetic pull towards salt caves east,
she stretches out and comes back again, but bigger.
She drinks of herself,
and breathes.
She is shining and shifting.
Reflecting sun and sky.
A big fish leaps.
A ship passes quietly

Easing myself down I let my feet sink some and bend to lean in,
tipping toward the slow drum roll of the sleepy fish,
I palm the otilith,
a tumbled relic of it’s music,
the white rune.
it is marked to
hold the story of her vastness, for one lifetime.

Today she is there to meet me at the edge.
Brings me
shell, bone, diamond, gold dust
her body rolling toward me,

I cup my hands to hold her
to thank her
to see myself in her
for she is both substance and container.
When I go in, I am part of her, and whole.

The sun is warm, she is calm,
the heron unafraid, the gulls fed.
And it will always be,
Daughter, mother.
Moving myths, turning rock
To find self.
To dive in.


Sarah CastriganoSarah Castrigano lives in the Cleveland area with her spirited four year old daughter and husband in a house filled with music. She lovingly and humbly holds space as the co-owner of a small yoga studio where she practices bodywork and teaches yoga classes. She spends her time being fascinated by things and makes art from stones, bones, shells, silver, clay, ink, paint, charcoal, graphite and words. Her favorite place is her home where she can be both lost and found in the things she loves.


Photo: thiswaterbaby/tumblr

Editor: Dana Gornall