for SB

This is the most you’ve ever been
a child. Once there was sand,
thick saltwater paste on legs
capable of anything; then, later
your body inside a lantern
waiting for claps of resurrection—
what happens is yellow, an armful
of swords pressed into your embrace
but no blood, only sprinting, blades
like chopsticks then sheathed
in your throat & this is also hunger
a goblet of dirt & flowers.
But think of that beach again. You know the one,
you’ve been there so many times. Think
of pomegranates instead of rocks & a sea monster
(any kind you’d like) who will love you
better than a lighthouse, love your toes
resting in its muddy grey sand
as the water breathes with endless indecision
the in & out of tongue
(after all just another muscle)
I would strip every branch clean, hands
wrapped like a hilt, buzzed fingers learning
the small fur of a bee, just asking for sting,
honey sugared between bricks.
Are you in the snow right now, this very second?
Somewhere there’s a city of seals &
somewhere I am slipping inside
another’s heavy rubber skin, changing
my feet, swallowing gulps of well-water
that taste like you. Like my eyes
weighed down with pennies
from the year I was born, & a year
that hasn’t happened yet.

Elizabeth Theriot

Elizabeth Theriot grew up in Louisiana and earned her undergraduate degree from University of New Orleans. She currently lives in Tuscaloosa, where she is an MFA candidate at the University of Alabama. Elizabeth works with the Black Warrior Review as an assistant editor in poetry and non-fiction, and teaches freshman composition. Her publications can be found online in Tinderbox, Requited, Pretty Owl, and Alyss, and in print in the Mississippi Review.