Death is sleeping

beneath the surface of the water.

She is alive with insects,

moss flowering over her wings.

Little black bat, submerged in formaldehyde,

leather-skinned old woman–

don’t wake just yet.

I’d like to make a bargain with you:

a little more time, if you please. Ask

and I will provide. What is it you’d like?

My baby teeth? A lock of my hair,

cut before it turned dark?

The memory of a conversation

five years gone,

worn down to threads?

I cannot sit here any longer

waiting for you to rise up,

streaming ropes of bright water from your shoulders,

cloaked in glass,

and opening your membranous wings

to blot out the light.


The waiting is worse than anything.

Do you want me to sing you back to sleep? I will do so.

Only stop eating holes in all my possessions,

going through the things I love like woodworm

and making the water heave to and fro

with your breathing,

tossing and turning in the black music of your dreams.

Death, I love you best when you are asleep

and far away from here,

when I can hold you in my heart as a theorem,

as an abstract.

Rest easy, and let the waters fall to stillness

over your face,

like a baptism in reverse,

or a hermit crab retreating,

curling back into the dark brown chasm

of its shell.
by Ellison Skinner

4AM Rain

I woke the night it finally rained

With a desire to take myself outside and lie down

Among all the broken spines of estranged grass

Baked dry by this new breed of summer sun

And with my parched mind

Bleached blank and curling at the edges

To be a part of this great soaking-up


I understand now that this is what I have been waiting for

The wet air, the need to dig both hands deep into the ground

And feel the earth-soil reviving

Under nails and nesting palms, in the pulsing of my veins

I will grow roots that spread beneath all these rolling hills

Map the rivulets that the water makes of the ground

For even as the thunder flashes, across a sky of churning clouds

This is where I feel the safest

Lying here, under summer rain
by Jessica Kashdan-Brown