No matter the rush of undertow everything else is still here. I scrawl your name at the bottom of the river I sing it and it sings me back. What I’d give for a name so keen it whittles the valleys of my neck. I’m forever drenched in this night, and you no longer exist. The river catches the sky’s black, ink meant to preserve a memory. I stay because it’s easy. Here. I relive what you did to me, find myself again in the water—swollen and sullen as a bruise. I trace and retrace, graffiti every river’s bank, drown into ecstasy instead of moving on with my life. I wear what you did to me like gills, a new way to breathe. I jump into the river for days. I forget I have lungs at all.
Copyright © 2019 by Noor Ibn Najam. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on January 28, 2019, by the Academy of American Poets.