Poetics of a single
ocean selves

Inside my moving water body is the capacity to dream
Beyond imperceptible boundaries
a musical moment which deluges and drowns everything in
thought turmoil
Flood fantasy, take me some w h ere
have you met my new cancer?
I need a wave like mountains, just much faster
to transcend
the wailing, wet, dimensio nl e ss chaos
where the relation between joint and flesh
assumes an
uncoded internal form
that unsettles the notion of home
Arrivance without arrival

Still water feeling of abnormal articulation
(grounded in the)
Possibility of knowing the anguish of [the] disintegration
of the capacity to speak
Inhabit the Blackness
Discrete untouchable fullness of the self
subject to existence
our seaborne variance consists of
the infinite time substance
of our embeddedness in the world
l i l [b b t f f g k k c o l t t a B
i n i r a o r e r i i o f e h h n o
g t f e s a r e t n o a a e d t
h (w) e a t t y m a c d k a k t t
t o t i h e e s h i i h p o
y l h n e d n e e u n s n s e o m
m i i g t n s g a g i a o
m e n n d c e f e l g d l
e a e g] t e o d r b d t i f h i
n n h a l o u h n r h n
d i b e d l w m t f e e o w e g
e n l a i o m h a
d g e l r t t n r k s e t w
s e i h h o i o p n s h
d v e t n u o e
i i d r r r
n n t c e e
g g h e s
“[As they] pass over the earth, they [weave] a sacred cloak over the Great Mother, each journey like a thread…[Even] a person’s thoughts are like threads. The act of spinning is the act of thinking. The cloth they weave and the clothes they wear become their thoughts. [Everything they do is conceived of as a fabric, and] everything begins and ends with the loom.”
— Wade Davis, from One River
all that's left is emptiness and poorly lit lines [in]capable of grasping me
as handwritten memory spins in the same direction.

my fingers felt the tips of soundless sentences
stalagmites of mouths that can't speak.

i wrote "a nameless girl" but i don't know how else to explain it
the silence of reality seems to me like a swarm of stray sentences.

the palm of my hand weighs 60 pounds now.

at nine-thirty a world like a coffin breaks up my links to the Body geometrically.

preparing for death destroys the unconscious handwritten eternity.
Four years ago, I felt the mass in the shower. In my right breast, right side, about 4cm in diameter. The lump was firmer than the surrounding tissue, as though someone had punched me there, causing a knot to form.

Even back then, I preferred my showers in the dark. Before entering the shower, each crack of the taupe-tiled bathroom floor scored itself in the soles of my feet. I walked three steps forward from the bathroom door and one to the right to face the toilet seat that Momma had replaced and the overhead chrome shelf that she’d purchased to display miscellaneous potpourri. I felt for the soap dish. It was in the right place, teetering on the corner of the countertop, threatening to dive into the trash can beneath. The bath mat was in its place at the base of the tub. And once I stepped in, the washcloth and face wash were accounted for as well. That’s why when I felt that mass, I was certain that it did not belong.

I was going to hold off until next weekend to wash my hair, but I suddenly yearned to be reminded of its weight. I bent my head forward toward the weak stream of water crawling from the aged showerhead and welcomed the drumbeat of droplets into the basket of my curls. As a sponge, my hair slowly absorbed the life leaking into it. Once saturated, the coils collapsed in clusters around my head and neck, comforting me in their familiarity. Water lapped against the hair covering my ears creating a hypnotic cadence that removed my mind from the lump long enough for me to resume washing. I used the backs of both hands to lift the curtain of hair from my face and flip the curls to the back. I reached to the left for my face wash and shut my eyes. Once a small amount squeezed out, I rubbed both hands together, then applied the cleanser to my cheeks with an unusual amount of pressure from my fingertips. I rubbed in circles, pushing and pulling at my skin as though I were testing the elasticity of my flesh. At some point, my fingertips curled in and were replaced by knuckles kneading at my jaw and cheek bones. Maybe if my face grew numb, by the time I dried off and hit the lights, the mass and its implications would all dissolve.

I remembered watching as Nana cut her hair when her cancer came back. Despite it metastasizing beyond her breasts (at that time, both already removed) she was still determined to fight. She asked Momma to take clippers to her head in the bathroom of her Maryland Sheraton hotel room. Nana flew down from New York, and Momma, Ari and I drove up from Georgia to attend a function which I no longer recall. I was nine or ten at the time, so Ari was thirteen.

Once Nana’s head was fully sheared, she ran a ringed hand over her fresh scalp and smiled in the mirror. The jewelry must have been so cold against her skin. I wonder if she cried when we left.

When we visited her townhome in Long Island about a year later, she marveled at the few fragile white fibers sprouting from the pores of her scalp. Though they persevered, they were weakened by the chemo. She wore multiple layers of clothing so that no one could discern that she, too, had been weakened by the chemo. Yet Nana’s smile never once faltered.

My hands slowed down scrubbing my face as I compared the weight of my thick, jumping curls to the wispy fragility of Nana’s new growth. My eyes peeled open as my arms slipped limply down by my sides. A green-tea-scented sud slid into my left eye, creating a haze as it merged with a single saltwater tear on the threshold of becoming. I let it linger and burn before blinking and flushing it with water.

I took my aching eye as a sign for me to get out of the shower. I turned the knob to choke the streaming water and wrung the excess moisture out of the mop on my head. My hand ventured beyond the curtain into steamy blackness and met a hand towel slumped atop a recently reupholstered ottoman. I dried off, careful to maintain a featherweight grasp on the towel so as to blind my hand from the texture of my body beneath. I wondered whether my fingertips could forget what they’d felt. I wondered whether I could forget.
samara elan huggins
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