Only that tinge of crimson-pink
like cyclamen flashing
drew me down, made me see you

in the heave of the wake, all
pale-jelly innard
on your side, resisting nothing

in the wash of green glass, clear gray, the waves
calm today, steady, as you slap
up and down in their hands—a nest

 of tentacles rolling with the foam,
 then hanging, white with poison. You collapse
 an inbreath of water, shudder. Glide.

Gone, before I grew faint
leaning over the boat; gone,
before I even knew

it was you—alive! Not knowing. Reliving
the blow, remembering: you, torn out, despised
and flung dripping to the waves.

From How the Universe is Made. Copyright © 2019 by Stephanie Strickland. Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc., on behalf of Ahsahta Press.