Back to Issue Twenty-Four.




I wasn’t born. I was found.
In the thick of red tide, my mother
pushed me through lines

of dead silver fish,
sharks, and octopi
that rose in whispers

off moon-splashed coquina.
She rolled me into a tight cocoon
and hung me

on the ceiling
of a Christian family’s beach house.

Mira, vete a ser mariposa ya,
she told me,
then crawled back

into the ocean, and the waves stayed
a shade of Georgia clay

until someone
cut me down.

My new family hummed
of spinnerbait, honey and Magnolia,
chamomile calm

against a sunburn,
and gave me rabbit after rabbit,
which covered the backyard
in a coat of twitching snow.

One burst
into feathers the moment I
held it close. A storm surge

broke, foamed at the dunes, and though
the polite ones looked away,
women in their lawn chairs eyed me

from their driveways—I was
a sad breeze veiled
in seagrass. I dreamed

of the edges of a map
riddled with arrows—
my nameless place,

my unknown sea,
the wreckage that hides in me.


Rachel Inez Marshall’s writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Review, Ploughshares, Rattle, Mississippi Review, Quarterly West, and the Normal School. She received her MFA in Poetry from Florida State University and currently lives in Nashville, Tennessee.

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