I am pulling myself from the ocean,
my shell thick with the ribs of phytoplankton.
I burn the sky down. This is not sunrise,
no tether to the solar system to the ocean
to the dirty sand of Carolina swamps.
This is just a portrait, brushstroke
turning grains of sand into pearls,
into strange and terrible microcosms,
something to question. War-paint
my face with the light, the nests
of oyster seeds. I press the world to my lips
and let the slow yolk of sun sink in.
Love does not want this body like a hurricane
wants the shoreline–the paradox of final destination,
green and sweating land, the dissipation of cloud cover
to coriolis winds. I lie on the sand and watch the squall,
horizon dark blue and beach drifting like snow.
The pull of the land, the pull of the sleeping body
at night becoming curve and humming tide-rise
and fall, breath of ocean lungs. Not far the hurricane
names herself over the rocking Caribbean Islands
battering hatches down against the torrents all around,
but to take America, the storm would swell and rage
and cease, pulling herself through wooden houses
and into the palm trees, exhaling momentum,
one last fitful expletive in a fight. I want you I do I do not want you I storm the shoreline curves away.
The body becomes more than a sleeping figure,
a tangle of verbs and incorrect comparisons, a slope
of spine into suitcase, a cold space on the shore.
The storm brushes sand from herself and jukes
into deep Atlantic, to disperse in a new way
on her own terms.
Amanda Stovicek is a writer and teaching artist from Northeast Ohio. She is a recent graduate of the NEOMFA Program. Stovicek’s work has appeared in Us For President, The New Old Stock, and Jenny Magazine, among others, and is forthcoming in 45th Parallel and Anti-Heroin Chic.