The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Amy Watkins’ “To the Water”


To the Water

A surfer climbs a green wave
with toes pointed, her arms a prayer
and challenge to the water.

My girl, mysterious, pale pink as a shell,
stretches her small arms toward the blue
beyond the blue horizon. Navy fades
to glassy aqua, green, gray foam,
and butterscotch. For this there is no word,
and she does not search for one.

What does the infant know,
taken and returned by tsunami waves?
His mother smashes coconuts,
milk and water for gods’ rage and mercy.
She names the boy a second time, his own name.

Rising from the bath, I am surprised:
mine is my mother’s body,
flushed with heat and marked by birth.
All shells know: the ocean is inside.

“To the Water” appeared in Amy Watkins’ book, Milk and Water, available from Yellow Flag Press.  Purchase yours today!

Listen to an audio recording of “To the Water” ready by the author!

Amy Watkins grew up with the alligators and armadillos in the Central Florida scrub, the oldest child of a nurse and a carpenter. As a kid, she wanted to be an artist, a doctor, a teacher and a contestant on Star Search; she became a writer instead. Her poems and essays have recently appeared in Bigger Than They Appear: Anthology of Very Small Poems, BloodLotus, and Animal: A Beast of a Literary Magazine. She lives in Orlando with her husband and only child, Alice.

This week’s Wardrobe Best Dressed was selected Nicole Oquendo. Nicole Oquendo is an Assistant Editor for Sundress Publications, and the Nonfiction Editor of Best of the Net. Her most recently published essays and poetry can be found in DIAGRAM, fillingStation, Storm Cellar, and Truck.


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