BY JAN VERBERKMOES
I razed our red hair so short, the father confuses
his daughter for a soldier and the house lights up
in a summer burn. Lie still then velvet-headed, we run
for the far side of the lake.
The water sunken in its bowl of mud,
yet deep enough to wrap us in soft webs of algae.
We float on our back, the sky blue—less, fitted with thin white clouds,
cut and cut again with the black silhouette of wings.
Water-fingers press into our ears, the corners of our mouth.
They teach us to inhale properly
so the voice travels inward, back into the belly
and cannot swell the mouth open. Remember?
I rub my skin where we separated and it stings.
Water-body, who is holding who? I still can’t dry off.
An Oregon native, Jan Verberkmoes currently lives in Oxford, Mississippi, where she is a John and Renée Grisham Fellow at the University of Mississippi and a candidate for an MFA in poetry. Her poems have recently appeared in Lana Turner: a Journal of Poetry and Opinion and Nashville Review. She has received scholarships and grants from the Fulbright Program, the Sewanee Writers' Conference, and the Squaw Valley Community of Writers Poetry Workshop.
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