The Girl They Buried

Kimberly Glanzman

Otherwise, I am fruit. My mother wraps
the bones of my ghost in seaweed,

fronds wide as tears, orbiting the forest
of my jaw. My tongue still, stale; my voice

overgrown. The river bucks my father’s boat,
tired of bearing his burdens. Ghosts weigh more

than flesh; they are filled with expectation
and hope; they sink. Those with feet preen

within their rinds and climb the stairs
within our throats. Scales and stilts, greed

and ships. Ghosts must follow where
the living trail the salt. The steps don’t shine,

the dead don’t swim, so they make parchment:
ink from wind, and maps of brine.

At the summit: shed fingernails and smoke-drunk
birds with fuse-bright eyes. Blood thick

as rocks, never calling soon. And threads, pulling

catapults or cradles. Teeth wet with gravity,
my vestigial disguise. Elsewhere, I bloom.

Beneath these severed candles, every inch
of song tastes of winter, lax mouths, shivering tail,

glass. Harpoon blade dripping hunger; hair long
and loose. My body rotting under root:

                                                                        a wreck, a ruse.


glanzman, kimberly

Kimberly was a finalist for the 2019 Stella Kupferberg Memorial Short Story Prize, and a 2020 Pushcart Nominee. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Sky Island, Sleet Magazine, Jet Fuel, Pretty Owl Poetry, South Dakota Review, Harpur Palate, Iron Horse, Puerto del Sol, and Electric Lit, among others. Follow her at your peril on Instagram @speculativemermaid

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