MORE

than one, or two, or
enough that counting doesn’t help:
a million poppies, a million rats.

Even the former is frightening: anything
that suffocates. Once near Chang Mai,
under a waterfall: little silver fish

like teaspoons, at first a few and then
a dozen, then the school, the whirlwind,
the river a whisk of tarnish...

And the scale tips to shiver,
displacement of water for flesh, flashing
and slithering—

it softens the skin, makes the membrane
permeable. As if
they could have carried me off, under
the falls and into— what? Some pure

multiplicity. Soil, silt,
that close and constant air.

First published in Blackbird, Nov. 2004. Copyright © Lisa Gluskin

 

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