after Not Waving but Drowning
it was a small body, it was August on my knees I thought
I heard a small mouth quip, a trick you told me, a grating tic
now I spoke this paranoia around like a gentle choke.
if you let it, the body will purge itself out of control. bloaty lids puffed
so shut not even light can enter.
a baby quakes in my arms and I cannot fill its mouth.
—such a small body, heavier than even all that water.
I sing and still wails hurl out a throat no mouth can shut. not even water.
how long already you’ve been so quiet. the man whose mouth sang you
to your death— I dreamt the figure up.
I didn’t turn around.
wet agent, dream cast— the bleeding heart, three-parted
hunches so far it forecloses completely
its role a parent plant. no scarlet throat
to lap up the nectar. no forked tongues flicking.
all these bodies bent over themselves. too late to disgorge with any mouth.
the silt long-parted, fractures along the cleavage planes
long-cleaved. always there is another body
bending toward its edge.
this morning, a small body turned to catch by chance
my gaze and decided not to jump.
to think we are the only creatures in conflict with god.
the throat spasms in a plea to seal off the path to the lungs,
a threatened vacuum.
—pink-backed, wild anemone
webs its flinty curse so slowly
you can’t even hear the sinking.
the throat relaxes. water flows to the lungs.
I am kneeling as a child thrashes in the tub, its small mouth naming
each tiny captive bobbing out. I am waiting
for your voice to bend around some corner of the house. I dream it
curdling inside your crimson yolk
blue-fanged and teething.