by Celina McManus


lungs swallow sludge as moat
time lost under woosh of waves
lop ‚Äúi am here!‚ÄĚ stirring up heat
and heartbeat lurching at the limbs
of my mother’s living body     snip
i awake my mouth wide as the river’s
and what is this foam? i rinse  spit
hear ‚Äúdon‚Äôt touch that‚ÄĚ as a goldendoodle
sniffs my exposed tongue      we exhale
in harmony    the dog is tugged onward    ink
spills from my fingerprints    light rings expose
trickles of language    in my hands  the sun
a clock!   each day i wake up in a fury at the river’s
edge        my body washes up        while the sun
and moon collapse on top of one another
romping as an evergreen

                                                                                                              FIRST DAY REVISITED

                                                                                                  what is there to know besides now
                                                                                          this october day again and in the same
                                                                                             octave? woosh of waves lop as death
                                                                                                returning¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† six becomes six again
                                                                                    boats rewind and slow as grace incarnate
                                                                                        struggle home ask why you still love me
                                                                                and fall back asleep before you can respond
                                                                     again at the river sits a mating crane he trumpets
                                                                    ‚Äúmercy!¬† mercy!‚ÄĚ in ecstasy i pluck his bill off¬†¬† tuck
                                                            each individual white feather under my head and i sob
                                                             wildly¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† i sob as the crane curls bill-less on the lump
                                                                 of me¬†¬†¬†¬† on this day the river rises¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† i am driftwood
                                                                      i plead to the crane¬†¬†¬†¬† i only wish to stop thirsting
                                                            unable to respond he flies away and nothing appears
                                                  a real alive nothing a nothing that stimulates cottonwood
                                                                                                     to root deeper into a dying world



Celina McManus is a poet and educator. She received her MFA from Randolph
College, where she was poetry editor for Revolute. Her work is featured or forth-
coming in Hooligan Magazine, Peach Mag, and Cobra Milk. She is from the foothills
of the Smoky Mountains and lives in St. Paul, Minnesota.