Forgetting how to swim
was like losing language,
a silencing of the limbs
that once knew fluid
like the vein of a wrist,
the curve of an eyelash.
The back of the hand
forgot its placement,
lost track of where it
should fall to propel weight.
Frozen, I stayed in place.
Felt my frame sink
like a chained magician
attempting to escape, to survive
the trick I played on myself.
Imagine if I’d drowned.
The obituary would say
Girl once thought to have gills
becomes an Ophelia complex.
Fumbling like a carp caught
in a net, I managed to haul
this dumb body to the embankment,
watch myself retch the bit
of pond clawing at my esophagus.
Sprawled in the sun, fists fat
with sand, lungs still searching
for breath, I let myself go red
and listless as a poppy before
rising again, craving water’s cold,
clean caress to sooth screaming skin.
Sink or swim? To be determined.
Jessica Furtado is a poet, photographer, & owner of the popular Etsy shop All You Need is Pug, whose products have been featured in Fortune, Daily Mail, InTouch Magazine, FYI Pets, & Cesar’s Way, and whose shop was noted as an Etsy Featured Seller. Her work has previously been published under the pseudonym JJ Lynne, with photography and micro-poem collages appearing in CALYX, Muzzle, PANK, and The Brooklyn Quarterly. Her writing can be found in apt, Hobart, A Narrow Fellow, Rust + Moth, Spry, and Stirring, among others. Jessica is co-editor of poetry for the literary journal Paper Nautilus and works by day as an Early Childhood Literacy Librarian. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband and two rambunctious rescue dogs.
The Nazis are back in town.
No, I know. They never, ever left.
The things I never said, I said them like a man.
Like a man I insist I never said those things.
And afterwards I will assert I never said the second thing,
layer on layer of vow, disavowal. And what I believe,
you shall believe; there is only one thought and it is me.
My smell wipes across the thought of him. Crying in a pin stripe business suit. There was an accident. Perfect bodies lose perfection like melting ice. Crowns of thorns are passed out, metal trinkets to place in private. Kiss the blood rolling down.
I keep having this dream where
the white man isn’t angry
the black man entered
the white house.
There is a cabin by the bouldered beaches
of Northern California,
where the pines practically toe the foam.
This is where he’ll go, and off will come
his tailored suits,
his lacquered shoes,
his streak of blood-red tie.
She’s been sitting in the passenger seat of my car for a week.
She won’t wear her seatbelt and she won’t come in at night.
We are the easy targets
to the men who hide behind
the thin veil of life
the men in Washington
who pretend that they care.
It’s nice to scream
“This is what democracy looks like”
With a hundred people you’ve never met before.
Of course we knew what was at stake.
We all had that pill between our teeth
the gelatin cap
would not burst
no matter how hard we bit down