To step out into it from the shower—
not neat lines of small round capsules
but fist mashes of blue, white, yellow.
And to lie down when it's over,
Feel the salt slap of rearing,
snorting waves. Feel the comfort
of the ending
of a book read once.
Long skirts dragging,
then nothing but sea.
Feel sluggish hope pried free
and that warm watery
taste of approaching,
of far off final peace.
Now you call.
Insistent songs. First like sirens,
something out of slept-
through cassette tapes.
Then sharp. Nothingness
split. And after curled up
crunched air gasp out
the shame sting
of salvation is what is left. Entire oceans
Long since fled.
First Response Negative
I'll admit, for a week I hoped
rather than dreaded. Listened
for ghost heartbeats with my head cocked.
No one cooed on crowded busses
or pressed ear to belly button.
My feet braced for planetary shifts.
And my tongue came loose to tell you the news—
scrambling upward like life clawing its way to light.
And I could see the mouth open,
agape in yawn and scream.
Yet longing was all there was
of this sinewy bridge to you,
thumping on the air
with fists that look like yours.
Caitlin Jackson works as a technical writer in Orlando, Florida, and is also pursuing her MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Central Florida.