Rabid dogs plastering shoulder to toe,
turning to blind knee-bent buoy
the constant whir of catalogue and question—
churning buttercream, painted sky,
the crush and crash of bloody tidal cry.
Suffocation, enforced vacation from light and air.
Glistening sea-foam fills and sits in breath’s empty spaces.
Broken shells tattoo hips, faces—breathless bottom-blanket
a shared thread in the naked spread of quilt and distance.
Rippling and ripped, her mind is that distance.
And so is yours, which is how it’s possible for you to understand,
if only I can be clear in this swirl of muddy water.
Pedestrian-painted quadruped, I have clawed,
in time and the lull of the riptides’ maw, back onto the shore’s softer lap.
Abruni, glittering blood on white a curiosity,
I am numb rocks, rough and tumbling forward.
Pursued and pulled out, the lion of my screams drowned
in the uncaring crowd’s doe eyes. I mean to say,
they didn’t feel like drowning me that day.
I mean to say, no deer was caught that year,
although I searched myself long after the hunt was quit
and the unearned feast depleted. “Abruni, don’t go in the water.
It will take you,” the children laughed, chasing me further in
to tickle my legs with great white spiders.
The men, too, walked by shouting their great concern,
before seeing the blood and recoiling: “Don’t you know
women are afraid of the water?” Women are unafraid,
I mean to say, of unbelonging. Hell is going home.