While Drowning

No-swimming sign. 

Manmade tide crushes bodies 

Into brackish marmalade. 

In the teeth, forgetting. 

In the teeth, cartilage and fibrous memory. 

While brushing, I let the tap run 

Until a form flows over,  

Sheds water like light. 

And heeding my elders warning, 

I mop her up. 

I am water soluble too, 

Sherbert on Auntie’s punch. 

Particles warming, diffusing in vastness 

Primordial soup of past hopes 

No current to guide them. 

I perform the water cycle for local first-graders 

But lack the proper gestures: 


Distillation into plastic bottles 

Sold in 24-packs to be left in the sun  


B Mallek is a Master’s student in English.

Charles William Brubaker, University of Illinois Chicago, http://collections.carli.illinois.edu/cdm/ref/collection/uic_bru/id/1559