A gewgaw moon dangled. Midnight
over green shallows, sluice, and salt meadow.
The tide standing. I went there alone,
to the pools where
fry and smelt lie. I found the clammy creature.
Hair tortile, wreathed and red; belly
madder rose. Around her, lily leaves all splits
and tongues. Smeary carp sliding
under a gliddery
pink, orange and white. One fish
circled into its quick black eye. Its circumference
a baby's arm. Bladderwrack pricked,
gullies purled. She had no
pulse. I believe I heard a cry. I am sure
we hadn't met.
I deny these teethmarks
are mine; my mouth is clean. I swear I did not
use a blade. The sealskin found beneath
my bed; the bones, the charms,
the bridle. The letter
from the New Jersey girl to whom you will say
I once was wed,
with whom you will say
I swam. The depraved gape, the scarlet gash.
I have no knowledge of these,
the blue eyes in my flask.
IBPC Contest Winner.