The moon rose over the bay. I had a lot of feelings.

Donika Kelly

I am taken with the hot animal
of my skin, grateful to swing my limbs

and have them move as I intend, though
my knee, though my shoulder, though something
is torn or tearing. Today, a dozen squid, dead

on the harbor beach: one mostly buried,
one with skin empty as a shell and hollow

feeling, and, though the tentacles look soft,
I do not touch them. I imagine they
were startled to find themselves in the sun.

I imagine the tide simply went out
without them. I imagine they cannot

feel the black flies charting the raised hills
of their eyes. I write my name in the sand:
Donika Kelly. I watch eighteen seagulls

skim the sandbar and lift low in the sky.
I pick up a pebble that looks like a green egg.

To the ditch lily I say I am in love.
To the Jeep parked haphazardly on the narrow
street I am in love. To the roses, white

petals rimmed brown, to the yellow lined
pavement, to the house trimmed in gold I am

in love. I shout with the rough calculus
of walking. Just let me find my way back,
let me move like a tide come in.

More by Donika Kelly

I Never Figured How to Get Free

The war was all over my hands.
I held the war and I watched them
die in high-definition. I could watch
 
anyone die, but I looked away. Still,
I wore the war on my back. I put it
on every morning. I walked the dogs
 
and they too wore the war. The sky
overhead was clear or it was cloudy
or it rained or it snowed, and I was rarely
 
afraid of what would fall from it. I worried
about what to do with my car, or how
much I could send my great-aunt this month
 
and the next. I ate my hamburger, I ate
my pizza, I ate a salad or lentil soup,
and this too was the war.
 
At times I was able to forget that I
was on the wrong side of the war,
my money and my typing and sleeping
 
sound at night. I never learned how
to get free. I never learned how
not to have anyone’s blood
 
on my own soft hands. 

Related Poems

There are these moments of permission

	Between raindrops, 


			space, certainly,


but we call it all rain.


          I hang in the undrenched intervals,


while Callie is sleeping,


	my old self necessary


and imperceptible as air.