Back to Issue Twenty-Two.




I razed our red hair      so short,    the father confuses
his daughter      for a soldier             and the house lights up

in a summer burn.     Lie still      then velvet-headed, we run
for the far side of the lake.

The water    sunken in its bowl      of mud,
yet deep enough   to wrap us    in soft webs of algae.

We float on our back, the sky      blue—less, fitted with thin  white  clouds,
cut      and cut again       with the black silhouette of wings.

Water-fingers press into     our ears, the corners      of our mouth.

They teach us to     inhale properly
so the voice travels  inward,  back  into the belly

and cannot swell the mouth    open.               Remember?

I rub my skin   where we separated and       it stings.
Water-body,   who is holding who?  I  still     can’t dry off.

An Oregon native, Jan Verberkmoes currently lives in Oxford, Mississippi, where she is a John and Renée Grisham Fellow at the University of Mississippi and a candidate for an MFA in poetry. Her poems have recently appeared in Lana Turner: a Journal of Poetry and Opinion and Nashville Review. She has received scholarships and grants from the Fulbright Program, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and the Squaw Valley Community of Writers Poetry Workshop.

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