Back to Issue Seven.

On the Nights My Lover Dreams of Drowning



I think about the bullet in his wrist that still floats
between radius and ulna. In the wake of his thrashing,

his quiet shatter-sounds, I have heard, murmured, the stories
that pool beneath his eyes each morning. I have learned

that there are times when the decision must be made not to cut
through muscle, to let shrapnel swim forever.

Sometimes, half-dreaming, I am caught in black water that beads
his back with sweat and then his terror is more real to me

than the eighty-six seconds I was held underwater by a cousin
tired of my playing in her pool, more real

than the beach-ball grin death wears when you are
six years old and drowning. I stroke his back,

try to pull him to the surface. On the midnights
when he twists against a tide I cannot see, I am afraid

to touch his face. I am frightened he will feel
my love and feel himself held under.

Amber Rambharose recently graduated from Hollins University, and is assistant editor at YesYes Books. Her work appears or is forthcoming in Thrush Poetry Journal, Muzzle Magazine, Whiskey Island, and elsewhere. In the fall, she will be a graduate student at the University of Cincinnati.