In winter, you meet him every Sunday at the skating rink: broad arms, bristle mustache, brown faraway eyes. You offer your sandwich, but he only accepts when it’s oyster. So you bring more oyster. Po’boys, you say, and he nods slowly as he chews: yes, yes they were. He tells you the ones with thin skins didn’t make it. They couldn’t keep enough of themselves, and starved for the lack. But he, he was enough; enough for this life, this climate, this iceless hell. You must be big, to blubber yourself against change. He asks you how you made it. You aren’t sure what he means; you hope it’s an invitation. It’s not not. Through his smile, his long pale canines glint. They crack you, and you dream of falling through his mouth like ice. Later, when you come up for air, he’s beached languidly on your sheets. Though his great furred body belongs to a king, his eyes are melted as any faded conqueror’s. He looks at you sadly and says, the ice once held me up. It was enough to hold all of me. Everything breaks, now. Everything.
Beside the nation, there is the / Body.
Beyond the / Border, there is a / Body of water.
Besides the / Blood, there is the heart / Beating.
this is not to say
the bones of memory are fragile
but that the ground too
tears itself apart
Your body carries the marks of a fight from many moons ago, and you think that if you close your eyes these marks will heal. / Close your eyes. / Go to number 2.