Arts & Culture / Convergence / Vol. 2 No. 1-2

The Skin of the Thing

Sheila Anozier, Bousou in Black & White

Image Credit: Sheila Anozier, Bousou in Black & White, (2019), Acrylic on paper, 12 x 18 inches, Courtesy of the artist

The sea rivets memory
Recalling boat names, ship titles
Manifests- handwritten or typed.
Holds forgetting: stowaways tossed
Suicides unknown. Refugees’ fabrics,
heirlooms, jewels removed.
————————————–   This human cargo
Tongues in search of listening ears—
The sea is here, the sea is there, the sea

Flicks waves against a high cliff’s edge
Fear shadows the divers’ reckless notion
A useful trophic cascade—mammal
Bodies are made of water, but land walkers
can only live near water, not on it, not in it.
The swimmers care little for such calculus, but the divers peer into
Depths where the floating nameless gather.

They dive.
Then return face up out of water
Names called.
Splendor located

But others may find the wrong equation
Their number’s up—an American locution
As is Are you Okay?

And if you’re not Okay
How is the query answered?
Or is it ignored like snoring lovers—
You make do.

What is done for memory, to memory—how the skin
We wear softens or toughens depending on weather
Or whether we are touched or rebuked.

What are we to make of dreams in which one
Lover enters the skin of the other—surrenders
All but skeleton. How would that work, would
The lovers be Okay

Or is such surrender, a diver’s risk, the cliff’s
Edge comprehensible, then more jagged
More dangerous than first surmised—too late
For such odd splendor.

————————————Too much the lover cautions
My skin is my own, more than a surface. Can we
Abrade each other, exchange lines of derma
This dust of our selves is enough to share.
Hold to the lace that knits your limbs together.
Leave such violence to fantasists.

How to value a dispersal of self; a body dissolved
In love or loathing. Witness the bemused reports of bloated
Bodies come back to land, un recognizable, un-familiar.
Skin the color of forgotten if not taken in portions
In the aquatic garden. As if useless even in unlit splendor.

Who watches the lovers’ quarrels, hears the curses
Of reckless divers, who can touch the skin’s surface
How wounded is the tongue that asks such questions?

What a surrender of all aspects of their sixth organ.
Manifests: ink visible   the many un-named washed up, washed away?

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