Communal Erosion by Michael Garrigan

Communal Erosion
          Prince Edward Island

We live on an island shaped by sea;
our edges crumble with every wave
that reaches us. Wind is our currency.

We plant potatoes hoping their tubular
roots grow long enough to keep our red
clay together. Every season there is mud.

We watch the ocean’s slow hunger and build
our houses among the gnarled spruce slowing
our communal erosion; we siphon lobsters.

What we do with the earth we are born
on is a matter of understanding the time
it needs to tell us the answers we seek.


Michael Garrigan writes and teaches along the Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania and believes that every watershed should have a Poet Laureate. He is the author of Robbing the Pillars and his next book — River, Amen — will be published in April 2023. His writing has appeared in Orion Magazine, River Teeth, and North American Review. He was the 2021 Artist in Residence for The Bob Marshall Wilderness Area and you can find more of his work at

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