How I Became a Nereid
What was it like for you, little
nymph, when that sun god plunged in
your waters, the eternal
father of horizon, his flaming hand
holding your delicate foot; did your skin
burn as you lay on the sand?
a waterbed will absorb most anything an embar
rassed teenager open mouth pleading under his 24yearold
body pushing me down to sinking every movement
a gentle undulation my face pressing into damp low
I’ve stopped breathing.
Andromeda’s stroke is slow and even.
We are in the same ballet company. I call out
to her- river water rushing in my mouth.
I cough and spit, “I can’t swim anymore.”
Paul turns to me. He is a senior.
“Roll over on your back.” Melted ice flows
from mountains into my muscles. I am
floating. The sky is gray.
I rise from the Snake river palms open.
Andromeda’s leg is against Paul’s.
They lie on the sand.
I am restless tonight; the bed creaks as I rise;
when I return you rub your toes along
my arches, dancer’s feet once, ten
years now I am twenty-four and feeling you
suck your breath, suck your breath in deeper
sleep, you move your feet, you tread water.
Copyright Kristina Coker
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