Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsFall 2016  Vol. 15 No. 2
an online journal of literature and the arts
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Instinctive Drowning Response

At the end it’s normal not to struggle,
to just lie there engrossed, the author
of small motions, gently sweeping one’s arms
like an angel topsy-turvy in snow,
except the pond slides back to fill the space.
And how closely bobbing resembles nodding
so that rather than wave while screaming at the world
my life is over, my love is leaving!
I order a latte. I feel so strange,
all these crazy urges sprawled like bric-a-brac
I drag from my pockets instead of cash.
But no one notices like the time I ran out
in Rome, slept alfresco until the wire came,
sneaking sugar packets I mixed with water
after drifting from cafés. How shy I was,
how patient, how almost casual
the scooping action that equaled making it
through the next inspired moment. There’s a reflex
to part the lips a little as if waiting
for lips, sweet sediment, such the subtleties
of breath once it’s too late. I wouldn’t even
have to beg; those businessmen behind me
in line would be good for at least a muffin
while the counter girl smiles, a flung ring buoy.
But I walk out as if it were any day
and you were everything, plentiful as water
and I could resume my going down.  

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