How to Drown
— Devin Kelly
I’m weighted & full of words,
soft-sinking toward ground.
(No one ever told me it would be like this,
that the past
could scream past until
it inhabits a kind of present, the way
the word weight
holds the sound of wait
until what you feel becomes a softened
mantra binding you to night.)
Each morning I wake
hushing an ocean
back into place, my body shored up
& sandy, pouring coffee into the faint
wound of my mouth. Every object
contains a story.
Failed love is only
a drunkenness you attempt to stumble
out of, without water,
without the hope
Once, my mother sat me
at the foot of her bed, years after she left
to tell me she still loved him.
I touched the faint vein trickling long
tried to find whatever yarn
binds two people together. She fed me
until I fell asleep on her couch
& then spent a forever-sickness of years
chasing nothing but what she left behind.
I am so wrong for all of this.
of city at night, how each small thing turned
in the right kind of light can bring me
to my knees,
remind me of a forever I have lost.
If you lead me by leash to the pond
in the middle of the park,
if you tie a brick
to my ankle & usher my body
gently toward water
as I have seen horses led
—the way supplication
does not have to contain a kind of violence,
the way prayer was invented
to fill the time we would spend
watching others die—
if you weigh me down,
you will have to wait
for my body to surrender, for all this
givingness, all this gentleness, all this all-of-this
to bend back
under the kiss of star & streetlight,
to give in,
to beg forgiveness,
Read more from Issue No. 9 or share on Twitter.