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.