when you close your eyes and fall asleep
your mouth changes
your lower lip sets back
like the life holding it in place has let go
can’t help but imagine this is the face whose cheek
I’ll tenderly kiss
when your body ceases
behind this thought comes another
I desperately hold
your beautiful face not defined by age
rather your brilliant smile and eyes
infused with the will of a thousand newborns
Boil it down to edge of the pot and residue remains where they died. I once believed all crabs were all born red until I saw my first Jersey blues. Cobalt and beautiful. What a thrill, lowering twine anchored to raw chicken necks. I didn’t know when these chickens lost their necks. Didn’t see them die. There are birds born to be dead then peppered for mouths with breadcrumbs and butter.
Of those blue beauties, I thought we discovered something profoundly
remarkable like the first dead cicada I’d assumed was a prehistoric fly.
Childhood eyes of marbles and butterfly lenses. The pot heavy with water, sparkling like the ocean, clatters onto the stove looking less bright in the sandy evening. That day the beach was too hot. We’d almost drowned in the powerful riptide, but didn’t. Saved by a rope that resembled the very same cord we pulled the blue beauties up from their ocean floor homes–hemp their chains and our salvation.
Into the pot
I hear screams of angry bleeding in the cottage kitchen with its lighthouse curtains fluttering in the salty breeze. My stomach lurches. Blue, red, all colors boiling together.
Sickness and seasoning
As your blue shells grow fire red, purple specks melting off indigo thumbprints vanish as if you never had life. Bright engine red wailing silenced for a sharpened knife.
This is the day I learn all crabs are not born red.
This was the day I learned when to break my butterfly lenses.
this poem is based on a true childhood experience.
the first time I ever saw live crabs boiled I was with a friend’s family down the shore.
I was shocked when the crabs we were fishin’ out of the ocean were not bright red
this was the first and only time in my life I ever became homesick
“my mom and dad would never boil live creatures,” is what was running through my eleven-year-old mind
(cover and image belongs to Paragon Journal – I added cover blurb for WP image)
Raven Hall Pool
She tells me childhood stories as pool water laps our mouths. Her words grow flippers and soar to the steel beams above. A lifeguard duo with prismatic baby blues. Cerulean so clear, their angular faces disappear beneath water. Both brothers displaying the rock-hard swagger of overtaxed muscles. Gluteus sauntering along Raven Hall’s perimeter causes much chlorinated gulping. Mouth-to-mouth the prize.
I understand water is the best place for many reasons. Below the surface you imagine heaven. This pool is old. Its white edges gray. The ceiling is missing a few tiles where words can get trapped. If the roof spoke, it would have a lisp. Yet the water sparkles like her stories. Here all are weightless. I’m thankful the world is mostly water. In salt-aqua things older than the universe continue on. I’m sure she cherished Raven Hall Pool for the same reason. And those lifeguard brothers. She dated the younger and was infatuated with the older. Not difficult imagining two handsome lifeguards all the way down to their bulging confidence. And her first kiss.
The water temperature is perfect. Never over-chlorinated. I keep my eyes open while swimming beneath. No goggles or cap, not ready for those. When we lift our legs up the steel rungs, it’s with grateful exhaustion. Until the next time. And there will be more swimming sessions. Many more I pray. To hear stories and watch her words grow flippers. This pool is worn, but in the underwater silences a dream makes its best escape. The world is mostly water. Imagine, all those words swimming to the sky.
ghosted background photo you see is my gorgeous mother showing off that movie star smile of hers!❤️