A DROWNING, 1984
A woman with wet hair walks by. You want her to be
your mother. And so you follow her. Her green and
white sandals go click-click and it’s like the
heartbeat you can’t remember. You want to be on
that boat in the wind, head to her chest. Click-click
on the gum-covered pavement. In your head those
fifteen, eighteen, twenty-two steps behind her you
change her hair brown to red. You change her
lipstick, which is easy from the back. You only saw
her mouth for a moment. It did not make a kissy face
into the glass as she passed. A woman’s mouth can
do anything. Click-click. Though the street is full of
motion, she looks at no one. She does not turn her
head. A car backfire, some siren. A loud shout from
a boy to a man on the street’s other side. Even this
does not make her turn. For all you know she could
be deaf, water logging her ears. You call out mother,
but she doesn’t respond. You call out monster, but
she keeps moving ahead.
Elizabeth J. Colen is most recently the author of What Weaponry, a novel in prose poems. Other books include poetry collections Money for Sunsets (Lambda Literary Award finalist in 2011) and Waiting Up for the End of the World: Conspiracies, flash fiction collection Dear Mother Monster, Dear Daughter Mistake, long poem / lyric essay hybrid The Green Condition, fiction collaboration Your Sick, and the forthcoming fiction collaboration True Ash. Nonfiction editor at Tupelo Press and freelance editor/manuscript consultant, she teaches at Western Washington University.
Jessica Rae Bergamino is the author of UNMANNED, forthcoming from Noemi Press, as well as the chapbooks The Desiring Object or Voyager Two Explains to the Gathering of Stars How She Came to Glow Among Them (Sundress Publications), The Mermaid Singing (dancing girl press), and Blue in All Things: a Ghost Story (dancing girl press). Individual poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Third Coast, Black Warrior Review, Colorado Review, and Southern Humanities Review. She is a doctoral student in Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Utah, where she serves as Reviews Editor for Quarterly West.