Amongst the Reeds

Each limb a frothed green or magnetic shade of yellow
one leg after the next, spasmed into being.

‘my new form,’ she thinks, ‘I will wear it well,’
and then: ‘ soon I will no longer know the notion of well’

Replacing two legs for six. ‘yes, I will finally belong here,’ she thinks
although she is not yet meant
to breathe so near to mud, so close to the ground inhaling
particles sharp as pebbles on new flesh

Her legs previously bent to carry each hipbone
a salute to her womanly shape, the rising mount of calcification
soon she will be easily crushed. It is most likely she will be stepped on.

But before this, she will be reborn. Here amongst the bulrushes
their insignificant blossoms on the shore of land to marsh here amongst
the shit brown thick water cooled to stagnant, light
in colour but certainly not clear; the sculpted sun tenderly breaking
the cottoned cattails, wind plucking the reeds to sing.

‘I will wake up whole and new,’ she thinks
though it is unclear how she will know new
but she is surely worthy, this much she knows.
She is, after all, beautiful. She made a stunning human form.

Above the insects are buzzing and there is some of her old fear
before remembering the gleaming thorax. An overly exposed abdomen.
She can hear the sucking of the mud, the leftover air
from a jumping frog. She suspects frog. She feels fear. She is unsure what a frog is.
She feels fear.

She doesn’t know how to move her new limbs
stuck on her back in the mud and she cannot move
except to lash out, the overhead sky, the hot June sun.

She expected instinct but there is none and when the mud dries to her new legs
they are like stone. The milkweeds, the sedges
above as if leering, as if pushing her under
to the coontails, the arrowheads, the plants mud all of it together like watercolours
green and brown green and brown her delicate legs easily breaking
and there isn’t enough blood to spill.


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