by Jane Morton

There  was  the  time  I  drove  the  car  into  the  creek.
And  then  the  time  I  was  the  creek  and  almost
drowned. There was a year that turned the creek to
stone.  It  wound  its  way  through  woods  that  aren’t
quite woods. Trees too pale and nervous to be trees,
and   grass   that   reached   up   taller   than   I   was.
In  February  I  was  getting  better.  The  year  began
as  gentle  as  specter.  The  air  as  clear  and  terrible
as  sight.  The  doctor’s  hands  were  small  and  blue;
they  flitted.  Death’s  jaws  chewed  steady  on  my
wrists,  my  hips.  He  touched  my  hair  and  eyelids,
tongue  and  veins.  I  sucked  on  stones  and  clawed
the  dirt  beneath  them.  Fingernails  dark  crescent
fertile  moons.  I  chewed  them  off,  chewed  steady
through  the  morning.  Mayfly  nymphs  disrupted
from their death-sleep. Dreams of swarm, of flight,
of  body  heat.  I  held  the  doctor’s  hand;  he  touched
my  shoulder.  Watched  my  blood  crawl  slow  into
the  summer.  More  promises  we  knew  I  couldn’t
keep.  I’d  give  myself  up  for  another,  hungrier.
I’ve  traded  self  for  self,  yet  I’m  still  me.  I  thought
I couldn’t live like this; I go on living

Jane Morton is a poet and MFA candidate at the University of Alabama, where they are the online editor for Black Warrior Review. More of their work can be found in Muzzle Magazine, The Offing, and elsewhere.