BECAUSE LONGING IS A SINKING SHIP, BY REGINA DIPERNA
after Franny Choi's "Quarantine"
Because longing is a sinking ship,
because my hands are anchor, rust.
Because the geometry of waves forming
is the same as hands closing around prayer,
stone sharpened, swish left in the wake
of fishtail, bare trapezius lit by north
starlight. Because in the swill of men,
I’ve already drowned. Because brine,
because the body always washes ashore
untouched as saints. Or because ancestors
wove their dark web, because their job
was to chisel flesh from charcoal,
cat’s cradle of lust after lust after
lust, the percussive slap of bone
against oblivion. Because salt will cauterize
wound, naked cut of breast, pelvis,
fingers deep-sixed in the mouth
of the beast. Because I’ve decided how
I’d like to die: split into five parts
of ash scattered, I’ve been hoarding
what I can: juice of bitten cherry, veins
wreathed around a wrist, lucid dream
in which I am ocean floor, mermaid
lungs opening to the sea.
Regina DiPerna's writing has been published in Boston Review, LIT, Booth, Missouri Review, 32 Poems, Salt Hill, and others. Her chapbook A Map of Veins was published in 2018 by Upper Rubber Boot Press. She currently lives and works in New York City.