Back to Issue Twenty-Four.



I wasn’t born. I was found.
            In the thick of red tide, my mother
                        pushed me through lines

of dead silver fish,
            sharks, and octopi
                        that rose in whispers

off moon-splashed coquina.
            She rolled me into a tight cocoon
                        and hung me

on the ceiling
            of a Christian family’s beach house.    

                        Mira, vete a ser mariposa ya,
she told me,
            then crawled back

into the ocean, and the waves stayed
            a shade of Georgia clay

until someone
                        cut me down.

My new family hummed
            of spinnerbait, honey and Magnolia,
                        chamomile calm

against a sunburn,
            and gave me rabbit after rabbit,
which covered the backyard
            in a coat of twitching snow.

One burst
            into feathers the moment I
held it close. A storm surge

broke, foamed at the dunes, and though
            the polite ones looked away,
                        women in their lawn chairs eyed me

from their driveways—I was
            a sad breeze veiled
                        in seagrass. I dreamed

of the edges of a map
            riddled with arrows—
                        my nameless place,

my unknown sea,
            the wreckage that hides in me.



Marshall 24

Rachel Inez Marshall’s writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Review, Ploughshares, Rattle, Mississippi Review, Quarterly West, and the Normal School. She received her MFA in Poetry from Florida State University and currently lives in Nashville, Tennessee.

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