Freshwater

by Nadra Mabrouk

You wanted to use a caterpillar as fish bait.
The soft fuzz of its pinky-long body
squirmed as though in slow motion
and you, not able to cut into its mouth, shivering,
threw it back in the grass.

And I thought we could take this bike anywhere –
Instead, we stop,
lay it on the ground near my chalky ankles.

a half naked woman’s shoulders near us, tanner than us — she is a bear:
waiting for the small gloves of fish
to tug, then grabbing them off the hook with large fingers
and swollen palms
as though her growth depended on them.

And what does our growth depend upon?
Exoskeleton? Thin needles inside fish?
The sturdiness of understanding the variations of the skeletal system?

I turn to prickling hairs on your thin-skinned elbow
and rub my cheek against your ribs.
You place your fingers on the sinking earth of my face
as though tracing hunger on the cheekbone
as the woman limps away.

She leaves with a basket of fresh bodies.
Something to slice open, squeeze lemon on,
cradle in your mouth and feel whole.

In a thought made of silk,
I am cutting softened peaches into puddles of vanilla,
a dessert, after salting the center of a cut salmon:
pink tongues on a refrigerated platter.

After we eat – a marinated silence
and hands, smelling of the river,
something swift to salvage us.

But instead,
You fill your hands with the grainy metal of the handlebars
and walk ahead of me,
footsteps slow and dry in the heat.



Nadra Mabrouk was born in Cairo, Egypt where she spent only five years. She has ripped memories of the country. Her family has since moved from one apartment to the other so she is familiar with different pieces of Miami yet does not know what it is like to mark your height as you grow in an old house to compare to your siblings. She wrote two poems in fifth grade and then picked poetry up again in ninth grade. Since then, she’s known this may the definition of concrete. Sometimes, she will have a swollen eye and takes a cyproheptadine pill to block the allergic reaction. But the side effects are brutal and any loud noise makes her feel as though the insides of her body are vibrating. This is why the world should be quiet and listen to the soft jazz of the air. She is a junior in Florida International University studying English and working with the University newspaper, The Beacon, as a managing editor and reads poetry submissions for Gulf Stream, the University’s literary magazine.

 

One thought on “Freshwater

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s