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2 Poems || Beth Towle

water is cursed
with memory or at least
that is what we fear
ghosts hunt beneath its surface
ghosts cling to the skiff oars
cling to boat bottoms
and scratch to keep
us up at night
we have no problem
with empty ghosts
who wear their skin bubbled
their heads like foam
we like the sound of ghost
babble coming through the sonar
like the way words have no meaning
those ghosts don’t bother
the ones that bother us
are the haunted ones
the heavy ones
the ones who press down
on the divining stick
the ones who tell us to look down
but never fully show themselves
they sing songs in the sonar
that make perfect sense
ghosts are always humming
the water is rhapsodic
over all future drownings
we are in the business of undoing
ether is the thing
we breathe it like regular men
a few gasps off maybe
we all go a little bit dead sometimes
skip a heartbeat
skip a breath
we go limp in the joints
go a bit wasted
slide our heads back in mud
and damn up our insides
so nothing gets in
we will death
a nice moment to think
surely no one misses us
if no one else is missed
we all get
a little undone
lay for a minute in the grave
before we step out again
we are nothing
if not resurrected
Beth Towle is from northern Indiana, where all the swamps have gone extinct but still haunt her constantly. She received her MFA from the University of Notre Dame in 2013. She is a co-founder and contributing editor at Actuary Lit (www.actuarylit.com)