The water is ok, Jennye says, sprawled on the shore
having not yet touched the water. Everybody looks
out at the ocean and has a Thought.
I was a mollusk closed and riding foam, I beached
this inlet’s other side, under rotting piers once
walkways to the moon. Now smeared
with hopelessness, blood of fish. Salted inside
the ruin of Dreamland, piles of sunflower seeds,
wet and littering the sand. Me and my leonine lover
in neon amusement light, he brushed my hair behind
my ear, loose. I knew I was a girl
I opened then and have been open ever since, pearlless
purse, powerful with emptiness. Women wade in
two by two, topless, adorned in chains.
Beauty, I remember, is trading one truth for another.
You have a Russian soul, Polina insists
as we sour cherry our afternoon.
(vishny) frozen, pitted, our soviet estrangement.
Sugared one colander full
of frozen berries not plucked from low dark trees
since our season’s over.
Flour over all flat surfaces
rolling scrap dough, Dipping one finger in red water we sealed each purse.
I die to look at women.
How many alphabets obliterate pre-lingual self?
English vowels fill up my purse
tongue down to knuckle
—new embankment. All dykes an island.
touch under Measureless Darkness.
have known, have loved, have stood in place, turned stone.
Sainted animal, wounded hoof, living
in hovel of my companionship. Resist healing wholly
lest in healing we forget.
Some vareniki float, not all seals, as lovers, survive boiling water.
“My love, call me Sasha,” Alejandra wrote.
Never had a lover use a name that has power over me.
Polina skims the surface
collects the salvage.
What was it like to be cared for? Sometimes, knowing
what won’t be enough is enough.