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.
I'm standing in the wind.
We had five years left to cry,
stay in, get things done.
The wordy gurdy stands
quiet in the middle of my head;
missing pieces [with just enough
shine] rubber-banded tog-
Back then, when she rose
from her beach chair, the weave imprinted itself
on the backs of her jiggly thighs.
Who would have carried it this far,
up the crest between watersheds,
then quit before the downhill?
This was your domain.
Pocket jingling a handful of brads, flat pencil behind your ear,
you’d bore through the browsers; pay and go.
When you rose from the sea
the crown of your head
touched the clouds
A conveyor belt delivers mutton and fowl.
Hot meringues suffer and collapse
under my ruthless fork.
His breath tripped over words stuck between his teeth
and tongue as sinewy shoulders curved.
The child stood, small, shivering in her tattered brown coat,
a dented, scuffed brown suitcase gripped in her hand.
mushrooms, beets, carrots, cabbage,
uncle’s ashen face.