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  • Emma Grabowski


I put water in my bones for a boy from the river,

but his bed ran deeper than I could wade,

and the water in my bones

that I put there for him!

weighed me down and kept me from the surface,

turning me along the bottom to smooth me like a pebble,

but my skin was soft and ripped on the rocks

which, unsatisfied, tore out my nails when I clawed for the shore.

At the end of the river, with my face above the water

once more, I found that the water had overflowed

to my lungs and left me with no room for air.

I cried to the Lord,

“Dry me out!”

Murky and lost, I cast my eyes to the side

to see the end of the river that I thought I had met

was no end. Water tapered into grainy estuaries,

and I found a will previously forgotten --

nearly wiped clear by the river -- and choking,

pulled my way through the mud with my elbows until I came to the beginning of the ocean.

My final pulls stretched me into the waves and led me


and deeper.

Salt cut off my river-skin until I was soft again,

then went through my old tears and rips

and into my bones --

the deeper I swam, the lighter I felt.

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