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Breath & Shadow

Spring 2020 - Vol. 17, Issue 2

"The Taste of Salt"

written by


I dismantle the ark board by board,

splinters wedged deep in my nail bed.

I drag nails loose, rust-black from water wear.

I set the pairs free. Swim.

They look back, pitied.

Forget the dove, burn the branch.

The smell of hide is suffocating.

Water rushes in the gaps, fetid and sweet.

The bible does not acknowledge

the millions whose last rites were the flood.

This lesson is mine and

mine alone in this post-flood

forty day baptism-ic divide.

I gather then the floaters, the earth,

my past, metallic as blood,

I gather ideology as the stone

gathers lichen. I gather sacrifice, willing,

as father to son. I gather sex,

dark as a cave, fragrant as a deep wine.

I gather ancient untold rhymes.

I gather all these things and I name them.

These I gather and I taste the salt.

After studying with Barbara Helfgott Hyett and then Daniel Bosch at Walnut Hill School For the Arts, Jayne Warren attended Smith College where she wrote her first novel. She is currently finishing a book of autobiographical essays entitled, “Strangers We Call Family.” To see more short pieces, follow her instagram @chasingwhatwasneverthere

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