Out on a skiff staring through planks

I fell to no bottom.

(The past is the past is the past but

the current depends on it.)


Tides carried me through nights, stripped

my skin and washed my bones

until a hollow-eyed

mask emerged.


I have no glare

to fill those sockets

jaw is clamped

tongue won’t thaw.

That jammed zipper mouth

traps an ear-cracking scream, withering

my lungs, balloons

of the soul.


The ocean floor is a desert

parched with

my thirst

to drink the dark or spill

into shadow,

                          be swallowed


                          but I am surrounded by sentries of stone

watching and holding their breath.


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