POEM FOR THE TIME WE SAT CLIFFSIDE WATCHING GRASS IN THE SHALLOW WATER SWAY

BAILEY COHEN

 

beneath the waves, rife with heartbreak. We sewed blades of grass
                         to the hair on our legs, manifesting a grave
             through a slower building. We started by grinding mint
                         leaves into our palms with our thumbs,
                                     shifting from one green to another—
 
                                                 this is how entire bodies morph into something
                                     forgotten. How can you even say someone’s name? I know too much
                         of the dispensability of beauty. Even the most memorable pain
             -tings are nothing but flowers ruined
                         into bewilderment. Don’t call me a ghost. Call me
 
             a low-hanging nimbus in search of all of its
rain. This is how we drift: two scientists
                                     placing their faith in buoyancy rather than each other.
             In this metaphor, the water drowns only those who cannot swim
                         after they want to stop swimming. God loves
 
                                     the tired. I do not deserve the life
             I have. Despite what hourglasses would have us believe, time
                                     is more than flecks of sand and salt. I remember: you
                                                opened your mouth to speak and an entire desert poured
                         out of your throat. Your voice, the weight of sound. I know what happens
 
             when waves inundate a sailboat. I can only imagine
                         what has been happening to your grief
                                     -stricken anatomy for years. Floating away, I fantasize breathing
                         into you, until your body is only a vessel
for air. Instead, we depart—you left, & I, right. Instead, you left & I will die bravely.

 
 

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